Amsterdam has become a very popular destination in recent years. Offcourse Amsterdam has always attracted visitors but in recent years there has been more attractions, more hotels and more marketing to attract visitors. An example of marketing Amsterdam is the ‘statue’ of ‘Iamsterdam’ in the middle of town. Very popular with visitors who want to take a photograph of themselves and the ‘statue’ but to my opinion a very ugly piece of promotion right in front of the Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam is having a new local government since this year. One of their main goals is to keep the city liveable for its inhabitants. That means that they try to spread the number of visitors coming to Amsterdam in the region instead of the city only. Another thing is that they want to maintain the rules concerning overnight stays, for instance check the number of days per year that a house or apartment is being used for airbnb. To my opinion the houses in a city become unaffordable for the inhabitants and the whole atmosphere in the city-center changes. This is happening all over the world, for instance in New York, Lisbon and Venice.
The city-government is looking for a different place for the terminal of cruiseships( outside of the city) because the ships pollute the air a lot.
In areas where a lot of visitors come they will check the quality of life for the inhabitants well and continously.
A disadvantage for visitors is probably that they have to pay more ‘touristtax’. Because the canals have become a place to party, sometimes very noisy at night, the local government wants to be tougher on the consume of alcohol and stricter on rules concerning illegal recruitment practices.
Let’s look at a couple of numbers. More than 17 million people visited Amsterdam in 2017. That is an increase of 3,5 percent compared to 2016. The number of days they stayed in town was almost doubled (94 percent) according to a visitorsurvey done by Amsterdam Marketing. The people who came over to Amsterdam almost spend 19 billion euro compared to 17 billion in 2011. This meant an increase of employment of 7 percent in january 2017 compared to 2016. Directly or indirectly generated by the people who come to visit Amsterdam. For example people working in the hotelbusiness. The number of people staying in hotels in 2017 is 8,3 million, an increase of 990,000 compared to 2016. Almost one half of the visitors is coming from the Netherlands. The number of visitors is expecting to grow especially from countries with a fast-growing economy. The downside of the immense growth is that the centre of town is becoming to crowded, people walking around at night with their rolling suit-cases and making noise, apartments being used for airbnb instead of the inhabitants, houseprices going up and big polluting ships among other things. A bit what happened to Venice.
On the 16th I talked with Giovanni A. from Messina, Sicily. I guess he is around thirty years old. He is starting on the 1st of August as a financial controller in Amsterdam. He is still looking for a house. When he was looking for one the owner told him that he didn’t want Italians. Which to me sounds pretty racist. Giovanni can also understand him a little bit because to his opinion the Italian tourists are very noisy and the Dutch know Italy only basically from the television: bad politicians, corruption, Berlusconi, sex, etcetera.
He is leaving Italy because there is no future in his country for his generation if you don’t have anybody who can help you with contacts to find work.
An important difference is ofcourse the weather. All in all the weather is a lot nicer in Italy. I know from friends coming to Amsterdam from Italy that this takes a lot of time to adapt to. Giovanni told me that it can become really hot in summer in Sicily (sometimes more than 40 °C) but in autumn, winter and spring it is really nice ( 15,16 °C in winter). Sometimes there is rain in summer but it lasts only a short while, like a tropical shower. In Amsterdam you have a lot more rain and overcast skies.
Because Giovanni is very enthousiastic about Amsterdam he asked his girlfriend over for the holidays. She is still living in Messina.
Amsterdam,18th of July 2018.
Yesterday I met Micha and Barbara from Prague, the Czech Republic. Micha told me that she wanted to visit Amsterdam because she had never seen the town and had heard good stories about it and saw nice pictures on Instagram of the city!
She asked her friend Barbara to come along ( whom she knows from the town in which they grew up together). Barbara had already been a couple of times to Amsterdam but she didn’t mind to go there another time.
The city centre of Amsterdam is as crowded as the one of Prague so they knew where to find nice and calm places.
Micha is a photographer, making her living as a portraitist. Barbara is working for a government-related business organising different events.
They both like coffeeshops and they don’t mean the ones where you buy a joint but the ones where you buy a regular coffee. The atmosphere is nice there and the quality of the coffee is really good. The staff working there is really friendly and helpful! I thought it would be the same in Prague but they told me this is not the case and that it will be like that in the next coming years. Barbara told me that she liked the industrial part of Amsterdam best. I didn’t know exactly what she meant but after a couple of questions it was clear to me that she meant the northern part of town!
They are staying for three days in Amsterdam and at the end of our talk they had to pick up their reserved bikes. Today they will go back home.
Amsterdam, 24th of July 2018.
Addendum 29th of july, 2018:
I just read a very interesting article by Reinier Kist of a quality newspaper in the Netherlands called the NRC that the city of Amsterdam is cooperating with a company called Advanced Metropolitan Solutions. As an experiment they check big data of visitors to anticipate a crowd and try to encourage them to take an alternatative route. As big data they use GPS-data of for instance telephonemasts, overnight stays in hotels social media and local transport. From an analysys of 500.000 flickr photo’s they found out that around 80 percent of the visitors is visiting the same attractions.
– De bosatlas van Amsterdam, 2015 Noordhoff Uitgevers bv, Groningen
– Amsterdam, Uitgave van de gemeente Amsterdam, 07-2018.
– Onderzoek, informatie en statistiek, Gemeente Amsterdam website, 2018.
– Amsterdam gaat met big data de toeristendrukte te lijf, Reinier Kist, NRC 20th of july 2015.