Famous for its tolerance as much as its narrow houses and broad canals, Amsterdam is undergoing a radical change of attitude when it comes to the millions of tourists that flock to see it each year.
Tolerance, it seems, has reached its limits in the Dutch capital, which is now actively urging visitors to head elsewhere as frustrated locals complain of feeling besieged by visitors using the city’s bicycle-thronged streets as a travel playground.
“The pressure is very high,” says Ellen van Loon, a partner at Dutch architectural firm OMA who is involved in adapting the city for the future. “We don’t want to turn into a Venice. The problem we are currently facing is that Amsterdam is so loved by tourists, we just have so many coming to the city.”
While Van Loon acknowledges the positive aspects of tourism, which earns the Dutch economy around 82 billion euros ($91.5 billion) a year, like many locals she’s worried that soaring visitor numbers are destroying the soul of this vibrant cosmopolitan city.
Question: How should we handle tourism restrictions?