New marketing campaign urges Amsterdam tourists to expand their horizons

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After promoting Muiderslot castle as belonging to Amsterdam and the resort of Zandvoort as Amsterdam beach, city marketing officials have now turned their attention to rebranding the city’s districts.

The move is part of a campaign to spread tourists out of the city centre and show them there is more to see in Amsterdam than the Dam, the red light district and Anne Frank’s house.

The city is using billboards, a multilingual website and special promotional booklets to persuade visitors to visit 11 of the city’s boroughs outside the centre.

Repeat Visitors

‘If they [tourists] come to Amsterdam for the first time, they will do what all visitors do,’ marketing director Geerte Udo told the Parool. ‘They queue for the Anne Frank House, visit the Rijksmuseum and take a canal tour. This campaign is not for them.’

Instead, this campaign targets repeat visitors, who may be looking for something different the second or third time round. Of the 18 million tourists who come to the city every year, half have been before.


‘We were very focused on finding the different characters of Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods,’ said Nico Mulder, consumer marketing manager at Amsterdam Marketing. ‘So we travelled the city by bike and went to talk with residents and business owners about their neighbourhoods.’

The team came up with marketing slogans that sum up what each neighbourhood has to offer. De Baarsjes, considered one of the city’s most deprived areas, has the catch phrase ‘celebrating diversity around every corner’, while the wealthy borough of Oud-Zuid is slated ‘from age-old art to high-end chic’.

The project has taken several years to complete and officials hope it will have had a tangible effect within three years.

‘This is not a short-term project,’ said Udo. ‘The growth in visitor numbers from home and abroad will continue for years. This is a development we need to take into account, such as now taking measures to spread out the pressure.’

The complete list

NDSM: Old shipyard turned creative haven
Noordelijke IJ-oever: Urban renewal meets ­nature’s beauty
Westerpark: Vibrant atmosphere against a green backdrop
Oud-West: Local hotspots and hidden gems
Bos & Lommer and De Baarsjes: Celebrating ­diversity around every corner
Oud-Zuid: From age-old art to high-end chic
De Pijp: Bustling mix of culture, cuisine and cafés
Oosterpark: Hip places, green spaces and ­diverse faces
Oostelijke Eilanden: Where water and modern architecture meet
De Plantage: Cultural garden with an elegant touch
Zuidoost: Cultural melting pot and large-scale entertainment

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