City councillors propose “wild swimming” spots in Amsterdam
Councillors in Amsterdam have proposed designating certain areas along the Amstel River as “wild swimming” points, to provide the people of Amsterdam with summer leisure activities since summer holidays have been cancelled for a lot of people.
Swimming in the Amstel River
Jan-Bert Vroege, a D66 councillor and local party water spokesperson, has proposed designating certain areas of the Amstel River as swimming spots, which will ensure that swimming in the river is safe and there are more opportunities for leisure activities for those who are stuck in the city over summer.
Vroege thinks that by designated official swimming spots, the city is providing a safe and vital public leisure facility where people can also maintain social distancing. “The water in Amsterdam’s channels has got a lot cleaner in recent years,” he told reporters. “Before it was really dangerous to swim in the canals and in the Amstel but nowadays the water quality is a lot better. People swim at a lot of places that aren’t officially designated and some get very busy. People need recreation spots and the 1.5m distancing rules will still apply.”
Vroege and his D66 colleagues believe that Amsterdam should make better use of its water, which covers about 35 percent of the city’s surface area. Vroege wants the city to invest in waterside steps, paddling pools for children and precautions against blue-green algae. He also pointed out that the city has an ice-skating bill that allows people to skate on the canals when they freeze over and that Amsterdam’s “water policy” is to utilise the canals and waterways more for sports and recreation.
Amsterdam city council looking over proposals
Vroege has conceded that it is not safe to swim in every location in Amsterdam, due to the amount of rubbish and waste found at the bottom of some of the city’s canals. New measurements have found, however, that since the outbreak of corona and the introduction of quarantine and social-distancing regulations, water quality had improved drastically in the city.
A spokesperson for Amsterdam city council said that the new proposals are being looked at and that the council is investigating the possibilities of Vroege’s proposal. Once the locations of the swimming points are settled by the regional and municipal councils, Waternet, the company responsible for Amsterdam, will test the water quality.