Amsterdam (Netherlands) closing cruise ship terminal to combat overtourism

   July 21, 2023 ,   Accidents

Amsterdam (Netherlands)'s city council voted to ban sea-going cruise vessels from docking in downtown as part of its efforts to control the number of visitors and reduce air and noise pollution.

The move is driven by the council's commitment to sustainable practices and marks the closure of the central cruise terminal located on the River IJ near the main train station.

This decision is part of the city's broader strategy to address the issue of mass tourism. Cruise ships have become a prominent symbol of the problem, with over 100 ships docking in Amsterdam annually. In addition to restricting cruise ships, the city has taken other measures to clean up its image, such as banning cannabis smoking in the red-light district.

Amsterdam's popularity has led to an overwhelming influx of 20 million visitors each year, many attracted by the city's reputation as a party destination. This surge in tourism has prompted the city to take action to preserve its cultural heritage and environmental integrity.

Ilana Rooderkerk from the D66 party, which governs the city alongside the Labour party and environmentalists, expressed concerns about cruise tourism, likening it to a "plague of locusts" descending upon the city. Mayor Femke Halsema also voiced discontent, highlighting that cruise tourists often spend only a brief time in the city, opting for international chain restaurants instead of contributing to local culture and attractions.

One of the main reasons behind the ban on cruise ships is to combat air pollution. Studies have revealed that a single large cruise ship can produce as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) in a day as 30,000 trucks.

City Council NOTE: "While the City Council adopted a proposal to actively work on the relocation of the terminal, cruise ships have not been banned from Amsterdam and the port is not in a state of "closing" to cruise ships. In fact, the City Council already approved proposals by the Port of Amsterdam (PoA) and Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) to undertake investments worth millions of Euros in port infrastructure--as well as shoreside electricity for the long-term, which allows cruise ship engines to switch off at berth for significant emissions reduction (up to 99% depending on the mix of energy sources and related factors--with all emissions covered: GHG reduced by more than 20%, SOx by 99%, soot particles by 98%, and NOx by 85%). With the support of the cruise industry, the PoA and the PTA have already announced a specific strategy for the reduction of emissions from cruise ships, using internationally recognized metrics."