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Amsterdam to close cruise ship port

July 21, 2023

Amsterdam city officials have said the ships cause pollution and are not in line with the city's sustainable goals. Around 300,000 cruise ship passengers visit the Dutch tourist hub every year.

Two cruise ships in Amsterdam
Amsterdam's cruise ship terminal will have to move outside the cityImage: Stephan Schulz/dpa-Zentralbild/picture alliance

Amsterdam is set to ban cruise ships from the city in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

The plan has been in the works since 2016 and was approved by a local government vote on Thursday.

"The polluting cruise ships don't merge with the sustainable goals of our city," Amsterdam councilor Ilana Rooderkerk said.

"It's time to take action, the climate won't wait."

Her party, the liberal "D66," which governs the city in a coalition with the social democrats "PvdA" and the environmentalist "GroenLinks" party, pointed to the Italian tourist hub of Venice as an example, after it banned cruise ships in 2021.

Cruise terminal to move

The IJ Terminal, on the waterfront near Amsterdam's central rail station, will now have to move outside the city.

Dick de Graaff, director of Cruise Port Amsterdam, which operates the cruise terminal, said the company had taken note of the vote and is awaiting the municipality's next move.

"There is no immediate closing of the terminal. The council's call is to relocate the terminal and we await a follow up from the alderman on investigations," he told the Associated Press.

De Graaff said that the Amsterdam terminal expects 114 ships to stop there this year and 130 next year.

Dutch say no to party tourists

Amsterdam cracks down on problematic tourism

The move also comes as the city attempts to reduce what it describes as nuisance tourism.

Earlier this year, the Dutch capital launched a campaign called "Stay Away" aimed at discouraging rowdy tourists — particularly young British men having big nights out.

The city has also in recent years clamped down on cannabis use and is looking to overhaul the famous red light district where sex workers stand in windows.

Around 20 million tourists visit Amsterdam every year. The 300,000 cruise ship passengers among them are a relatively low proportion of the total. 

zc/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa)