Amsterdam bans cruise ships to limit visitors
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The Dutch capital is limiting visitor numbers and curbing pollution by banning cruise ships from the city centre.

The vessels are not in line with the city’s sustainability goals, said politicians.

The central cruise terminal near Amsterdam’s main train station will close as a result.

This is the latest measure against mass tourism in the city.

More than 100 cruise ships moor in the capital every year, becoming a symbol of the problem.

As part of its efforts to clean up the city, the council has banned smoking cannabis on the streets of the red-light district.

Amsterdam launched an online campaign in March urging young British men not to hold bachelor parties in the city.

Amsterdam has become a victim of its own popularity, attracting 20 million visitors a year – some drawn by its reputation as a party city.

It is impossible to cut the number of tourists in Amsterdam by having cruise ships in the center of the city, said Ilana Rooderkerk of the liberal D66 party, which runs the city alongside the Labour party and environmentalists.

As recently as last week, Rooderkerk compared cruise tourists to a “plague of locusts” descending on the city all at once.

That kind of language has baulked other Amsterdam officials. In contrast, Mayor Femke Halsema complained last year that cruise tourists were let loose for a few hours, ate at international chains, and didn’t visit museums, consuming the city without contributing anything back.

A key reason for removing cruise ships from Amsterdam is to reduce air pollution. According to a study published in 2021, one big cruise ship produced as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) as 30,000 trucks in one day.

Several mooring sites outside the city center have been considered for some time, but no decision has been made.

A separate development is Amsterdam’s plans to enhance its night-time culture.

To develop the talent of “creative young people who want to organize something at night”, the city is looking for disused tunnels and garages for nightclubs.