Amsterdam’s local government will limit the number of tourist-orientated stores in the city in order to give space to other businesses and crack down on mass tourism.
The ban is directed towards businesses that cater almost exclusively to tourists, such as bike hire points, souvenir stores and budget takeout joints. The government believes that their overwhelming presence in places such as De Wallen drives out any business other than tourism and, as a result, people living in these neighbourhoods are forced to travel elsewhere to buy groceries or socialise. According to current estimates there are around 280 of these types of businesses in Amsterdam’s city centre, and from now on the municipality will refuse to grant licenses to stores or restaurants that fit into this category.
Although the ban won’t immediately change things in Amsterdam, the government expects that it will encourage other businesses to move into these areas and eventually create an environment that’s more welcoming to locals.
This isn’t the first time that the municipality has targeted tourism and the ban is part of ongoing efforts to make Amsterdam more liveable for its residents. Earlier this year the city’s council unveiled plans to raise taxes on accommodation, making low-cost hotel or hostels less attractive to visitors, and in 2016 AirBnb agreed to limit the number of days users could rent out their apartments in Amsterdam.
Like many other residents of European hot spots such as Venice or Barcelona, Amsterdammers are becoming increasingly more vocal about the effects of tourism on their daily lives. As such, the municipality is currently looking for new ways to address issues associated with the massive influx of people visiting the city everyday and will likely continue to implement this kind of legalisation.