One big number: Overtourism in Amsterdam

20 million: Visitors the city gets annually. In contrast, the residential population is under a million. As a result, housing availability, employment makeup, prices, and more are all skewed. 20 million is also the cap on number of visitors set in a 2021 ordinance called “Amsterdam Tourism in Balance” adopted by the city. If visitors already surpass 18 million, “the municipal executive is obliged to take action.”


Another campaign of interest: ‘How to Amsterdam’

For visitors who’ve already arrived, another campaign is underway. Through posters plastered across the city, screens in hotel lobbies, social media posts, and hosts on the streets, “How to Amsterdam” seeks to warn tourists against “urinating in public, drunkenness, noise nuisance, and buying drugs from street dealers.”


Quotable: Is Amsterdam going too far in telling tourists to “stay away”?

“You could show people that they will get in trouble with certain behaviour, with a bit of humour, but you shouldn’t act like everyone who comes here for a wedding is a criminal! You should read what the Dutch get up to on the Costa Brava in Spain! Has Amsterdam even thought of the potential collateral damage for the Netherlands as a destination as a whole?” —Marco Lemmers, chief executive of Conscious Hotels, quoted in the Guardian.


A non-exhaustive list of Amsterdam’s broader “Visitor Economy 2035 Vision” measures

Amsterdam lawmakers have proposed other measures to counter mass tourism, but ideas such as banning non-residents from cannabis cafés or banning Airbnb rentals in the city center eventually went nowhere. However, Amsterdam has several other measures lined up over the next decade, according to the “Visitor Economy Vision” the city etched out in December 2022. These include:

🍻 Earlier closing for brothels and bars, and limited alcohol sales in certain areas


🚬 A ban on cannabis smoking in public in central Amsterdam from May

🚦 A controversial plan to move some of the sex workers from the Red Light district to an “erotic center” in a location yet to be determined


👥 Talking to the travel sector about limiting private group bookings

🚲 A continued ban on beer bikes

📝 Researching the effectiveness of tourist taxes

Related stories

🇳🇱 Amsterdam looks to shake off its image as Europe’s sex and drugs capital

✈️ The tourist attractions on top of your bucket list might not actually want you there


🚣 All the things tourists are not allowed to do in Venice

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.