Amsterdam banning tourist buses in latest move to curb overtourism


By AGENCY

Every day, up to 450 tourist buses drive into the city centre of Amsterdam. This is far too many, says the city council and wants more spaces to stay free for pedestrians and cyclists. – Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa

As many as 450 tourist buses crowd out the tight canal streets of Amsterdam everyday, many leaving their engines running and emitting fumes while tourists stroll the picturesque nearby surroundings.

Municipal officials, hoping to make Amsterdam a more liveable city in spite of the massive tourist draw of famous galleries, canal walkways and legal marijuana, now want to stop coaches from entering the city centre.

From 2024 onwards, tourist buses will no longer be allowed to drive into the centre of Amsterdam, Dutch officials announced on Thursday, citing issues with overcrowding, pedestrian safety and the risk of damaging to historic city infrastructure.

Tourist buses weighing 7.5 tonnes or more will in future have to stop outside the centre and passengers seeking to get into the city will have to transfer to public transport.

Amsterdam has been trying to curb mass tourism for years and had announced extra measures at the end of 2022. Last year, about 18 million visitors spent at least one night in the city. In addition, there are millions of day visitors.

According to the city, about 300 to 450 tourist buses drive into the city centre every day, far more than this limited space can handle, the city administration said, explaining its decision.

The buses cause traffic congestion in the narrow streets and endanger cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, they are too heavy for bridges and streets along canals, while also emitting too much exhaust fumes when waiting for passengers with the engine running.

Officials will be handing out special permits for the transport of children, elderly people or people with disabilities.

As part of a number of measures to slow tourist numbers, the city previously banned landlords from renting out properties in central parts of the city on platforms like Airbnb, while also cracking down on guide tours through the red-light district. – dpa

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