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Friday,  July 19, 2024 5:08 PM 

“A polluting form of tourism”: Amsterdam to halve cruise ship traffic, will relocate terminal

  • Cruises
  •   07-08-2024  7:01 am
  •   Pax Global Media

“A polluting form of tourism”: Amsterdam to halve cruise ship traffic, will relocate terminal
Amsterdam is phasing out cruise ships and, in about ten years, will close its cruise terminal entirely. (
Pax Global Media

Amsterdam is slowly phasing out cruise ships and, in about ten years, will close its cruise terminal entirely as the destination cracks down on overtourism.

According to a city-issued press release in June, Amsterdam’s Passenger Terminal – which opened in 2000, and is about a 15-minute walk to the city’s centre – will cap cruise ships to 100 a year from 2026 onwards.

Currently, the maximum is 190. The terminal will eventually reduce to just one berth and require cruise ships to use shore power.

The aim, according to local city council, is to move the terminal from its current location on Veemkade in 2035 – a move that “put an end to the cruise terminal in Amsterdam.” 

 “Banning cruise ships is also part of a broad package of measures to limit the growth of tourism and combat nuisance,” reads a June 26 press release.

"A polluting form of tourism"

In a statement, Hester van Buren, Deputy Mayor of the City of Amsterdam, said “sea cruise is a polluting form of tourism and contributes to crowds and emissions in the city.”

“By limiting sea cruises, requiring shore power and aiming for the cruise terminal to move from its current location in 2035, the council is responsibly implementing the council's proposal to stop sea cruises,” van Buren said.

Reducing cruises is one of more than a hundred measures to achieve a “sustainable visitor economy,” the city says.  

Passenger Terminal Amsterdam. (Merijn Roubroeks)

Besides reducing the tourist crowds, the measure also has positive effects on the reduction of pollutant emissions such as particulate matter, nitrogen and sulfur oxides and CO2 emissions.

“Not just because of the arrival of fewer ships, but also due to the obligation to have shore power from 2027 onwards,” the city says. “The use of shore power also ensures less noise pollution from moored ships.’

Roughly 35 per cent of cruise ships are equipped with shore power connections, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

Onitial discussions with partners have showed that Rotterdam, which is about an hour south of Amsterdam, can take more than 40 cruises that will no longer be allowed to dock in Amsterdam starting 2026.

The financial consequences of Amsterdam reducing (and eventually, ending) its cruise traffic hasn’t been fully assessed.

Potential economic loss

In its announcement, the city of Amsterdam acknowledges the potential economic loses from fewer tourists spending money in shops or museums and “less tourist tax collected.”

More details on this, and the decision, will be included in the next budget memorandum, the city says.

Amsterdam is also looking at the possible relocation of its passenger terminal to Coenhaven, a harbour in the northwest.

This move could bring new opportunities and visitors to the area.

“Based on this feasibility study, the council will decide in consultation with the government, the Port Authority, and the province of North Holland whether relocation is feasible by 2035,” the announcement said.

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