Amsterdam looks to rein in tourism, cracking down on beer bikes

Bye bye beer bikes? Amsterdam looks to rein on rowdy tourists, cracking down on ‘amusement transport’, drinking on boats and Airbnbs

  • Many residents feel the capital city’s ancient centre has become overrun
  • Plans have been outlined to crackdown on alcohol use and holiday home rentals
  • Tourism has been blamed on driving housing prices through the roof in the city

Beer bikes and Airbnbs are being targeted as part of a crackdown on rowdy tourists in Amsterdam. 

The Netherlands’ capital has unveiled plans to curtail the number of visitors, reflecting the dissatisfaction of many residents who feel the city’s ancient centre has become overrun.

In a document seen by Reuters, plans have been outlined to put a limit on ‘amusement transportation’ such as multi-person ‘beer bikes’, crack down on alcohol use in boats on the canal and further restrict AirBnB and other home rentals.

Beer bikes and Airbnbs are being targeted as part of a clampdown on tourism in Amsterdam

There is also push back on a large tourism tax hike.

The leading Green-Left and other parties negotiating a new municipal government after a local election in March vowed to return ‘balance to the city’ in the document that amounts to part of a governing pact.

‘The positive sides of tourism such as employment and city revenues are being more and more overshadowed by the negative consequences’ including trash and noise pollution, the document said.

The plans announced this week also include creating an inventory of all commercial beds in the city, to try to cap various sectors such as those on cruise ships and in hotels.

With a population of around 800,000, the city expects 18 million tourists in 2018, an increase of 20 per cent from 2016 levels, many drawn by an edgy atmosphere generated by readily available soft drugs and the ‘red light’ sex zone.

Anti-tourist and anti-expatriate sentiment have been steadily on the rise in Amsterdam, as both are blamed in part for helping drive housing prices increasingly out of the reach of ordinary Dutch people.

The Netherlands’ capital unveiled plans on Wednesday to curtail the number of visitors, reflecting the dissatisfaction of many residents who feel the city’s centre has become overrun

The average apartment in Amsterdam cost 407,000 euros ($475,000) in 2017, an increase of around 12 per cent from 2016 levels, according to national real estate association NVM.

The change of emphasis has already started from national government over the past years, to try to dissuade visitors from the more earthy pastimes the city is famous for.

Advertising campaigns have focused on the city’s canals, the Anne Frank House, the museums packed with Van Gogh and Rembrandt’s greatest works.

Legislators have helped the re-branding by shutting a third of the city’s brothels in 2008 and starting a programme to close marijuana cafes near schools in 2011.

‘Amsterdam is a city to live and work in – it’s only a tourist destination in the second place,’ the municipal document said.

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