Could an alcohol ban be coming to the canals of Amsterdam?

Could an alcohol ban be coming to the canals of Amsterdam?

It may well be. A small majority of the municipal council has voted in favour of investigating whether or not it is possible to ban alcohol use on boats on the canals of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam municipality tackling nuisance on boats

The municipality of Amsterdam is tackling nuisance on its waters in a variety of ways. It is now investigating an alcohol ban. Should the ban go through, both skippers and passengers will not be allowed to consume alcohol while on the waters of Amsterdam. Whether or not the ban will apply to the whole of Amsterdam or just certain areas remains to be seen. The results of the investigation will be presented to the municipal council before July 1.

The municipality also recently approved new rules that limit the number of passengers per boat to 12; with the exception of King’s Day- then the regulation is lifted for the day. If you want to sail with more than 12 people on a day other than King’s Day, you’ll need a permit and the municipality will only be granting 550 of these. This regulation will take effect on May 23.

Sailing policy met with resistance

The new sailing policy has been met with resistance, with some boat owners even gathering on the canal outside of the official residence of the Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, to protest. Traffic alderperson Sharon Dijksman, however, feels that the measure to limit the number of people on boats is necessary to counteract illegal recreational boating. Additionally, according to her, it has gotten a lot busier on the water and the number of disturbance reports has also increased dramatically.

Update: The mayor will not implement a ban

The mayor of Amsterdam has said that she will not ban alcohol on the canals. To do so would be undesirable and disproportionate to the problem it proposes to solve and would also cause legal complications. 

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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