Stop the madness of tourism: the shape of central Amsterdam in 2025

The red light district, deserted during the first confinement Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

Amsterdam in 2025 will have a city center where a “different” type of visitor and “Amsterdamers want to come”, according to new city plans.

The coronavirus crisis has exposed how certain areas have become almost totally dependent on low-budget tourism, linked to noise, nuisance and inhabitants driven out or priced.

Now, following calls from tourism experts, businesses and local residents to restore the city’s reputation for drugs, sex and lost weekends, the council has come up with 88 far-reaching measures to ensure that after the crisis, things change.

Eva Plijter, spokesperson for the council’s city center team, told that the aim is to make the area attractive again to locals and to discourage certain types of mass tourism.

“We are looking for legal possibilities to ban vacation rentals such as Airbnb in the [entire] downtown, and this plan also talks about reducing the number of cafes and prostitution windows, because they attract visitors that we are less likely to see returning, ”she said. “We want to make De Wallen more livable. “

To buy

According to the plan, the council wants to buy buildings containing tourist shops for reuse, research whether it is possible to convert cheap hotels into other functions, such as houses, and restrict window opening hours. brothels and nightlife to make the neighborhood red light better for residents.

The mayor of Amsterdam is currently investigating whether prostitution should be moved entirely to an ‘erotic’ hub elsewhere, and whether coffeeshops should enforce a resident-only rule in order to reduce nuisance and crime. Some measures of the long-awaited plan are already being implemented – and since July there has been an Airbnb rental / vacation ban in three smaller areas – but the city is seeking much more drastic measures.

New ideas include banning or restricting the sale of alcohol in stores located in nuisance zones – which was attempted during closures earlier this year – and reopening a police station in the red light district. Amsterdam will also conduct a study to see if longer opening hours for alcohol-free shops could improve certain neighborhoods, while putting other measures in place to reduce waste and public urination.

Amsterdam Floating Flower Market Photo: Senay Boztas

Flower market

Plans aim to rebuild “a valuable tourism economy” by 2025, when Amsterdam celebrates its 750e birthday. In the city center map, Amsterdam admits: “Before the corona crisis, at certain times and in certain places in the city center, too many people and bad behavior caused unpleasant situations, and there are also a lot of rental cars. holidays. In some areas of the city center, there is now an economic monoculture that does not appeal to Amsterdam residents. The coronavirus crisis is still with us, but has shown how dependent and vulnerable the city center is due to this one-dimensional tourism economy.

Instead, the goal is to change the city’s international image through advertising, encouraging more business and conference visitors, and tackling areas such as the business market. floating flowers from Bloemenmarkt, linked in recent years to the “flower fraud”. “It is clear that something had to change there,” Plijter said. “The inhabitants have not visited the flower market for years and it is an attraction for mass tourism: we want to give this space back to the inhabitants of Amsterdam. “

Don Ceder, head of ChristenUnie in Amsterdam, welcomed the plans. “The mayor has finally really recognized that when it comes to the function of the city center, we need tough measures to prevent it from being a magnet for some visitors and to make the city viable again for people. who live there, ”he said. noted. “These plans are a big step in reclaiming the city.”

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