Amsterdam announced this week that it will take ongoing plans to reduce the impact of tourism one step further. Faced with a downtown now dominated by souvenir shops and take-out food stores, the municipality will offer nonprofit organizations money to buy out businesses aimed at tourists, and use the properties instead for other more locally-oriented purposes.
The new plan unfolds in a city that has decidedly fallen out of love with its role as a tourist honeypot, where the volume and prominence of places catering primarily to visitors in its historic heart have started to repel longer-term residents. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified these feelings in Amsterdam (and across Europe’s tourist cities), as residents got a chance during lockdowns to see what their hometown was like without tourists — and decided they liked it. It’s a feeling that the city’s leaders share.