New agreement reduces cruise ship visits at Port Amsterdam (Holland) from 2026

   June 29, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

Amsterdam (Netherlands) has reached an agreement to begin limiting the number of cruise ship calls at its seaport starting in 2026. This is part of a broader strategy to eventually relocate the cruise terminal from the city center and better manage the influx of tourists.

Efforts to reduce cruise traffic gained traction nearly a year ago, following initial proposals by local leaders in 2016. A popular tourist destination, Amsterdam has faced increasing noise, air pollution, and congestion due to the growing number of tourists. According to the now-disbanded Amsterdam Cruise Port foundation, the city was receiving up to 150 cruise calls annually, handling 300,000+ passengers. Current municipal rules allow for up to 190 calls from ocean-going cruise vessels per year. The port accommodates both ocean-going and river cruise ships.

Effective immediately, the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) will be limited to a single berth daily. The 2024 schedule shows 111 ocean cruises planned, but starting in 2026, the annual limit will be 100 calls. Additionally, by 2027, all ships will be required to use shore power. The council also voted to halve the number of river cruise ships calling at Amsterdam.

Following a study initiated in July 2024, it was determined that Rotterdam could accommodate 40 sea cruises no longer permitted in Amsterdam. Some cruise ships already call at Rotterdam, offering bus tours to Amsterdam.

City officials acknowledge that restricting cruise calls will decrease spending by sea cruise passengers and shipping companies, impacting museums, catering, shops, and excursions. The city will also collect less tourist tax and port revenue. They are examining the financial implications of this decision, which will be included in the next budget, while also noting benefits such as reduced fuel consumption and air pollution.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Port Authority, and the province of North Holland, Amsterdam is conducting a financial and legal feasibility study on relocating the PTA to Coenhaven. The goal is to move the PTA from its current location on Veemkade by 2035.

Some cruise ships have already adjusted their schedules, with others using berths in Coenhaven, an industrial area west of the city center. However, passengers have complained about its accessibility, prompting cruise lines to provide bus services to the city center.

Amsterdam joins other major cities, such as Barcelona, in relocating cruise terminals from city centers. In Juneau, Alaska, a voluntary agreement has been reached to cap the number of daily cruise passengers, following the implementation of a daily limit on cruise ships.