Amsterdam is overwhelmed: Tourists being sent to The Hague
They’re everywhere... Tourists, that is. Amsterdam is struggling with 17 million plus overnight tourists it receives annually and, in order to lighten the load, is helping to market The Hague, home to the Dutch government and international courts.
I Amsterdam store takeover
To help scatter tourism, The Hague has temporarily taken over the I Amsterdam store at Amsterdam Central Station. For three weeks, starting September 13, the capital’s main physical marketing outlet will be heralding The Hague as a must-see city. Visitors will be met with a green carpet and the rest of the shop will be adorned with green and yellow – the city's colours. Products from the Hague such as Haagse Hopjes (coffee caramel sweets) will also be on sale.
On September 13, the first day of the takeover, 50 return train tickets to The Hague were offered to tourists for free. The first taker, American artist Annamarie Trombetta, also won a free guided tour of the city of justice from a horse-drawn, golden carriage.
The three-week takeover is part of a three-year agreement between Amsterdam and The Hague to share some of Amsterdam’s tourism. The Hague wants to present itself to tourists as the royal city of the Netherlands. Its palaces, stately avenues, museums and beach are all specified as attractions.
Sharing tourism across the country
There is a need to spread the tourism load, feels Geerte Udo, chief executive of amsterdam&partners. “Tourism creates jobs and empowers our cultural infrastructure, but in some parts of the old city centre at certain moments, it causes a nuisance,” she expressed. According to Udo, the data shows that there are people who have been to Amsterdam many times and are interested in visiting new areas.
Head of economic affairs for The Hague’s council, Richard de Mos, said the city is delighted to host cultural visitors and families: “Amsterdam has 13 times more overnight visitors than we do. But we offer something different: a seaside town, a royal town and a place of knowledge and peace. If The Hague can help make Amsterdam less busy, it is happy to do it.”
Whilst The Hague is happy to help with Amsterdam’s tourism issues, not all cities are as forthcoming. Haarlem recently announced a new policy to minimise the negative effects of tourism and focus on “quality visitors”. Amsterdam, of course, doesn’t want troublesome visitors either, according to Udo: “We are not happy with people who misbehave. We are an open and tolerant city, but we do not accept people disrespecting our locals."