Amsterdam is to ban cruise ships from the city center as it tries to reduce pollution and reduce the number of tourists.
However, there is no clarity as to when the move will come into effect. A spokesman for the city council said The Independent: “The municipalities of Amsterdam will now investigate how this proposal can be implemented.
“We need to discuss this with our partners within the North Sea Canal area. At the moment it is not yet clear when the proposal can be implemented.”
Currently giant cruise ships can dock close to the city center at Cruise Port Amsterdam, within walking distance of the historic districts. But after a campaign with the slogan Amsterdam is better sailed without a cruise (“Amsterdam sails better without a cruise”), the coalition of green and center parties in the Dutch capital voted to ban them on these grounds:
- A cruise ship terminal within the city limits puts pressure on the quality of life, is highly polluted, and hinders the city’s growth development.
- Good climate and clean air are prerequisites for future generations of Amsterdam. The daily air pollution from one cruise ship in the port is equivalent to 31,000 trucks driving a lap on the ring [Amsterdam’s orbital motorway].
- Mass tourism puts pressure on the quality of life in Amsterdam.
- The cruise passenger is an example of short-term tourism that only benefits the city.
A number of passenger ships, including a DFDS ferry from Newcastle, currently dock at the port of Ijmuiden – where the IJ river meets the North Sea and the coast closest to Amsterdam.
This could actually be faster for cruise passengers bound for Amsterdam, as the vessels will not have to go through the North Sea Canal between Ijmuiden and the capital. They can reach the capital in around 30 minutes by coach. Unusually, Ijmuiden has no train station.
Some cruise ships also use boarding facilities in Rotterdam.
Currently any ship scheduled to call at Amsterdam will be able to continue. As a number of cruise itineraries are published for the year 2025, the ban may be phased in.
Cruise Port Amsterdam, the current terminal, was rebranded in 2022 and describes itself as “your entry to the premier tourist destination and capital of the Netherlands”.
He says: “Cruise Port Amsterdam provides added value to the economy: by consuming passengers, shipping companies and crew; the tourism tax and job creation.
“Our unique terminal on the river IJ is just a walk from the historic Amsterdam City Centre. Ideal for independent travelers who can start exploring the city on foot. As well as being strategically located to start a journey to visit the famous highlights of the Netherlands.”
The Independent he has asked the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) and P&O Cruises to comment on the proposed ban.
Venice imposed a similar ban on cruise ships.
Amsterdam has also launched a campaign to discourage groups of hedonistic young men from visiting the city – a move criticized by local hospitality businesses.