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Economy

Tourist-Weary Amsterdam’s Plea: No More Clog or Waffle Shops

The city’s latest bold initiative is offering up cash to help local community groups oust touristy businesses. 

The Amsterdam government has enacted several policies to try to reduce the number of stores selling things locals don’t need, like clog souvenirs. 

The Amsterdam government has enacted several policies to try to reduce the number of stores selling things locals don’t need, like clog souvenirs. 

Photographer: AURORE BELOT/AFP via Getty Images

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.