Amsterdam wants to move a cruise liner terminal out of the heart of the historic capital in the latest step in an ongoing battle against pollution and the throngs of tourists clogging its narrow streets.
The Dutch capital is one of many charming European cities – from Rome to Venice to Paris – grappling with how to manage the number of visitors that are rebounding after being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aldermen of Amsterdam’s municipality voted Thursday in favor of a motion calling on the city to move the terminal from its current location closer to the main train station.
“A clear decision has been made by the council that the cruise (terminal) should leave the city,” Ilana Roderkerk, leader of the centrist D66 party in Amsterdam, told The Associated Press in an email on Friday. “Amsterdam’s municipal executive is now going to work on how to implement it. In any case, as far as we are concerned, large ships no longer operate in the city center of Amsterdam.”
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Dick de Graaf, director of Cruise Port Amsterdam, which operates the terminal in the city center, told the AP that the company has taken note of the vote and is awaiting the municipality’s next move.
“There is no immediate closure of the terminal. Council’s call is to relocate the terminal – and we await a follow-up from aldermen on the investigation,” he wrote in an email response.
The Amsterdam terminal expects 114 ships to stop there this year and 130 next year, De Graaf said.
The vote is the latest step in the Dutch capital’s long-running campaign to reduce the impact of tourism. Other measures include banning people from smoking weed in the narrow streets of its red-light district and a proposal to move out of the city center, where scantily clad prostitutes stand at many windows.
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Earlier this year, Amsterdam even launched a campaign titled “Stay Away” from what it described as nuisance tourism.
“Visitors will be welcomed, but not if they misbehave and cause trouble. In that case we as a city will say: No, stay away,” Deputy Mayor Sufyan Mubaraki said in a statement at the time.
For Roderkirk, banning cruise ships is about more than curbing tourism.
“A polluting cruise does not match our city’s sustainability ambitions,” he tweeted after the vote.
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It said large cruise ships bound for Amsterdam also prevent the construction of a second bridge over the waterway to connect the city to its fast-growing northern suburbs.
Cruise liners are not the only form of transport facing restrictions in Amsterdam. The national government has also announced plans to reduce the number of flights at Schiphol Airport, a busy aviation hub serving the city.