Amsterdam in 2020: What’s happening / changing?

Amsterdam in 2020: What’s happening / changing?

2020 is well underway and whilst many national laws have changed and new systems have been put into place, what’s happening locally in Amsterdam? Here’s a summary of what you can expect this year in terms of changes to the rules and what’s on in the city.

What changes can we expect in the capital city?

There are plenty of changes happening in the city this year, especially when it comes to the kinds of taxes residents and tourists pay, so let’s dig in.

Increase in taxes

For starters, taxes for residents, visitors and businesses are increasing this year to spread the benefits and burdens more fairly and reduce the pressure on scarce public space.

To this end, the tax on private property in public space has increased. This is particularly relevant for those who own houseboats. Advertising tax has also been introduced. This is aimed at reducing the amount of advertising in public space. The rate is variable depending on how big the ads are and where they are in the city.

Just like last year, tourists will pay the seven percent tourist tax for an overnight stay. The difference is, this year they will also pay a fixed amount on top of that. For hotel rooms, this amount is three euros per person per night and for camping sites one euro per person per night. For holiday rentals, bed and breakfasts and short-stay accommodation, tourist tax is now 10 percent of the turnover, excluding VAT and tourist tax.

By introducing this fixed amount, visitors will now contribute to the cost of maintaining the city (pavements, bridges, streets, canal walls etc.), keeping it clean and safe. Entertainment tax has also increased. This tax is a contribution towards the entertainment for which the city also incurs costs, like cruises, guided tours and hop-on-and-off buses. It was 0,66 euros per person and is now 1,50 euros.

Tackling nuisance group tours

That’s right, there are new rules for group tours – which cause quite a bit of nuisance, especially in and around the Red Light District. The new rules will come into force in April and prohibit tours past the windows of sex workers. All guides giving tours of the city centre will need a permit, not just those giving tours in the Red Light District, as it is now.

Additionally, the maximum group size for a tour will also be cut down from 20 to 15. Moreover, guides will also have to meet mandatory quality requirements.

Housing and rentals

When it comes to housing, and renting out in particular, there are some new rules you definitely need to be aware of. For starters, the holiday rental rules, which stipulate that you can only rent your place to tourists for a maximum of 30 nights per calendar year, now apply to houseboats. These rules also mean you have to notify the municipality before you rent to tourists.

In a similar vein, new rules apply to B&B rentals. These entail having to apply for a permit, which is valid for eight years, to be able to run one. A limited number of permits will be allocated per neighbourhood. As of April 2020, a limit will also be placed on the number of rooms which can be rented out for permanent accommodation per neighbourhood and per building.

As for ground lease, leaseholders could switch to perpetual lease under favourable terms until January 8. It is still possible to transfer; however, different terms now apply. 


Good news for those with cars, as parking with a visitor’s permit is cheaper from January. The rate for caregiver’s permits has been significantly reduced and it will be easier to renew this permit. In other car news, a new underground car park is set to open above the Rokin metro station on the North / South line in the second quarter of 2020.

From November 2020, diesel cars and vans will only be allowed within the A10 ring of the city if they date from 2006 or later. This will improve air quality within the city.

Fun things in the city

Firstly, the number of free, secure WiFi spots has gone up; now, more than 200 public areas offer this. Looking at events happening in Amsterdam this year, there are two which stand out, namely SAIL and Euro 2020. This year is the 10th edition of SAIL, and will see tall ships from all over the world come to the IJ harbour in Amsterdam. SAIL occurs every five years in Amsterdam, so if you’re about it’s definitely an event you don’t want to miss.

If football is your passion, the event to be at this year is Euro 2020 – which celebrates 60 years of the UEFA European Championships. The Dutch team will be playing three matches in Amsterdam! Of course, there are plenty of other events to partake in this year, like the usual, Open Tower Day, Amsterdam Tulip Festival and many others.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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