Amsterdam council sets cap for tourism, max 20 million per year

Amsterdam council sets cap for tourism, max 20 million per year

This month, the Amsterdam city council adopted a new policy to regulate tourism in the Dutch capital. According to the new “Tourism in Balance” scheme, there can be a maximum of 20 million overnight stays in Amsterdam every year. 

Regulating tourism in Amsterdam

The policy was passed as a result of a citizens’ initiative last year that, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands, called on the municipality to take action and limit the number of tourists the city welcomed each year. 

Locals voiced their displeasure with the sheer number of tourists who visited Amsterdam every year, resulting in overcrowded streets and more and more hotels, Airbnbs, and businesses popping up that catered to tourists instead of the local population. 

The initiative received overwhelming support, collecting over 30.000 signatures in only two weeks. After being discussed by the city council, Amsterdam has adopted the new Tourism in Balance policy to reduce crowds and “reclaim” the city for local residents. 

21 million overnight stays in Amsterdam in 2019

While the initiative called for tourists to be capped at 14 million per year, the policy enforces a maximum of 20 million overnight stays per year. The municipality will be required to intervene if this figure is exceeded, but also if the number of overnight stays falls below 10 million per year in order to protect and support the city’s tourism industry.

The municipality has already taken a number of steps to try and control tourism in the capital, introducing strict rules for Airbnbs and other holiday rentals. Tourist tax was also increased at the start of 2020, but could potentially rise again in the future. 

In 2019, a whopping 21 million tourist overnight stays took place in Amsterdam alone. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that, this year, the city will likely see fewer than 10 million overnight stays.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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