Amsterdam has decuded to ban cruise ships as the city council seeks to lower pollution and reduce the number of tourists, with an implementation plan being evaluated. About a hundred cruise ships dock in the Dutch capital every year. When the measure is set up, the terminal of jumbo cruise ships near the Central Station on the bay nearby (also known as the IJ) would disappear. Authorities have been inspired by Venice, a city that took measures against cruise ships two years ago and has since seen an 80 percent reduction in air pollution.
The Dutch capital has roughly 820,000 residents but receives an estimated 20 million tourists annually, a significant portion of whom are attracted by the coffee shops and the Red Light District. “Cruise ships in the city center do not fit into our plans to reduce the number of tourists,” council member Ilana Rooderkerk said to local media.
The cruise passenger is the type of tourist that Amsterdam needs to get rid of as soon as possible because they move into the city center all at once like a plague of locusts, with the accompanying nuisance.Ilana Rooderkerk, Amsterdam City Councillor
Air pollution is one of the reasons why Amsterdam wants to get rid of cruise ships. A study commissioned by local residents found that a jumbo ship emits as much nitrogen as 31,000 trucks making a round trip on Amsterdam’s ring. One of the problems is that, to keep providing power, cruise ships run their engines while being docked.
Though the city could implement the ban immediately since the port terminal on the IJ is owned by the city, at this point it is not clear when the city council would proceed to take any action. Hester van Buren, responsible for Port Policy, told local news outlet NRC that relocating the terminal should be done in consultation with “other municipalities and stakeholders in the North Sea Canal area.” It is not clear when such a consultation would take place.
The city council recently banned the smoking of marijuana in the Red Light District. There was also an online campaign discouraging British youths from coming to Amsterdam to celebrate their bachelor parties. According to the BBC, authorities have launched initiatives to re-purpose disused tunnels and garages to develop the talent of “creative young people who want to organize something at night”.
Barcelona to curb cruise ship tourism
Barcelona has announced similar measures earlier this year. The city has been struggling with over tourism, especially the one caused by people arriving on cruise ships. Some officials believe cruises bring in to the city large numbers of people who only spend a few hours on land, crowding the streets and not bringing a significant economic impact. “If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it’s that this idea of low-cost tourism, or tourism without limits, ends up being very costly for the city,” Barcelona deputy mayor and councillor responsible for ecology, urbanism and mobility Janet Sanz said.
“You will be walking and all of a sudden there’s this mass of people who appear together in the street,” said Sanz. “They don’t consume anything and they don’t have an economic impact. They just wander for four or five hours and leave.”
Sanz has highlighted the environmental impact of the ships, especially pointing to the water they use from the port. “It is completely incomprehensible that we’re suffering our driest year in 100 years but expecting more cruise passengers than ever,” Sanz stressed in a letter to the regional government.
“It’s the responsibility of everyone, especially those in the tourism sector, to ensure Barcelona doesn’t become a theme park,” she said. “Because the moment it does, it will no longer be of interest to tourists.”
Currently, cruise ships bring in about 25,000 day trippers, according to Sanz. She is pledging with the regional government to exert its power over the port authority and cap this number to just 200,000 a month or maximum three ships a day.