Amsterdam pushes livability for all; 7,500 new homes, car-free zones, MDMA regulated
The new Amsterdam coalition made up of PvdA, GroenLinks and D66 presented their projects for the city in the years to come. The new coalition plans to invest in housing, create more space for events and possibly regulate ecstasy. The parties said they reached the coalition agreement “in a good atmosphere” but had to make “sharp choices”, reports AT5.
The coalition plans to build 7,500 new homes, including 3,000 social homes, 3,000 in the middle segment and 1,500 for the free sector. They will look to build more homes at and above transit hubs and over water where possible. The city management will also study the construction of a floating park on a waterway. At least one canal, possibly the Herengracht, will be car-free and the roads there will be turned into green spaces.
Sidewalk cafes expanded during the coronavirus pandemic can remain as they are as long as they don’t negatively impact the neighborhood. The coalition hopes that this will encourage the animation of neighborhoods and outdoor spaces. To further encourage arts and culture, Amsterdam will no longer require permits for small events. But event planners still need to let their neighbors know.
“Tourism should not come at the expense of other economic sectors, and therefore we will fight against monoculturalism,” the city said in its column on balance and tourism. The temporary halt to new hotel construction will remain, and a ban on vacation rentals through platforms like AirBnB will be implemented where neighborhoods are under too much pressure and strain due to tourism levels. The new coalition has also said it wants to reduce night flights at Schiphol, eliminate more short flights to nearby destinations and increase international train connections.
With the advance of electric bikes, the city could impose a speed limit on bike paths. Parking fees will be collected 24 hours a day in the city center. According to the coalition, this is to fight against foreign tourists who sleep in their cars to avoid high prices for accommodation.
Political leaders also want to try to regulate the distribution of the popular street drug MDMA, commonly known as Molly when sold in powder form, or ecstasy when sold in pill form and possibly mixed with pills. other chemicals. “Amsterdam is leading the way in the regulation of soft drugs by taking an ambitious and flexible stance on the scope for experimentation offered by the government,” the parties said in their agreement. They say they are in favor of a pilot program to regulate the supply of MDMA, as the regulations could “limit a lot of health and safety risks in Amsterdam”.
The city will also continue its wharf and bridge maintenance projects, but will focus more on cost reduction measures.
To finance its projects, Amsterdam will increase the property tax “towards the average of the four big cities”. The agreement did not specify the percentage of property tax that individual property owners will pay, but the coalition expects the tax increase to bring in an additional €52.5 million per year from 2023. The city is also expanding the areas where parking must be paid for. The coalition did not name specific neighborhoods, saying only that paid parking would be implemented “where care takes up too much public space”.
Amsterdam will have nine aldermen, three from each party. Among the newcomers are former NPO director Shula Rijxman (D66) who will serve as councilor for public health, and Hester van Buren (PVDA), director of the Rochdale housing association. She will be Alderman of Finance. The other aldermen are Reinier van Dantzig (D66), Melanie van der Horst (D66), Rutger Groot Wassink (GroenLinks), Touria Meliani (GroenLinks), Zita Pels (GroenLinks), Marjolein Moorman (PvdA) and Sofyan Mbarki (PvdA).
Additional points of the coalition agreement:
- Amsterdam plans to “actively frustrate drug trafficking” on the streets, although it knows a shortage of police and law enforcement will hamper those plans.
- Singles, young people and students will have to live together more often. But families will have enough space, the coalition said.
- Amsterdam will consider whether it can tax people who have a second home in Amsterdam.
- Dining establishments will have more space to have “a band or DJ that performs from time to time”.
- The city plans to only allow residents and contractors with a parking permit to park in the downtown area.