On July 20th 2023, Amsterdam’s City Council voted in favour of banning cruise ships from docking in the heart of Amsterdam. Whilst the vote is in, cruise ships aren’t out just yet but it is unclear what this means for future voyages.
Combating Environmental Problems
The ban on cruise ships coming into the heart of the city was proposed to combat the ongoing concerns about pollution and over-tourism in Amsterdam. If the legislation is approved, the Dutch capital’s cruise terminal will be moved to a location outside of the city centre and cruise ships will no longer be allowed to dock in the central district. A similar law was enacted in Venice in 2021 to address similar concerns.
Dick de Graaff, director of the Amsterdam cruise port, has reassured cruisers that there is no immediate closing of the terminal and the industry group, CLIA, has clarified that cruise ships are still being welcomed to the city and upcoming cruises with scheduled itinerary stops in Amsterdam will still be allowed to dock there.
Amsterdam is a popular port of call for both ocean and river voyages. Like many European destinations this year, it has seen a huge increase in tourist arrivals. For 2023, Cruise Port Amsterdam has predicted an influx of around 30,000 cruise passengers.
By the end of this year, the city is set to receive a total of 73 cruise ships. With Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line both making 15 scheduled visits each. Amsterdam is also a primary homeport for river cruise ships to explore Germany, Switzerland and France. However, river cruise ships are not included in this proposed ban.
Amsterdam is aiming to create its tourism industry more sustainable and create potential solutions for the cruise industry. Cruise ships can’t currently connect to shore power in Amsterdam and so they are a significant source of pollution. They release large amounts of sulphur and nitrogen as their engines must continue running in port.
The discussions between the local government, Amsterdam port and the cruise industry are ongoing. The next steps are yet to be released.
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