Amsterdam’s mayor describes boat alcohol ban as ‘undesirable’

Canal cruises are a popular tourist draw
Canal cruises are a popular tourist draw

Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema has dismissed the idea of banning alcohol from boats on the city’s canals, saying the suggestion is ‘undesirable’.

Last week a majority of city councillors voted to ask city officials to investigate the possibility of a ban, as a way of further reducing problems on the waterways.

While acknowledging that there are some ‘alcohol-related issues’ on boats, the size of the problem is not enough to warrant introducing a ban in city bylaws, Halsema said.

‘Measures to combat nuisance should leave Amsterdammers free to enjoy their city,’ Halsema said. In addition, a ban would be tricky to impose legally because boats are not covered by current drinking laws, she said.

Nevertheless, the mayor said, she is prepared to look into ways of controlling ‘all you can drink’ concepts and bring in a licencing system for commercial boats to serve alcohol.

At last week’s meeting city councillors agreed with plans by transport alderman Sharon Dijksma to stop boats using the canals at night, and forbidding private owners from carrying more than 12 passengers.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation