People and companies in the heart of Amsterdam have written to mayor Eberhard van der Laan urging him to stop the ‘Disneyfication’ of the city centre.
Locals complain that there used to be a clear tourist season but that the stream of visitors is now continuous and Amsterdammers are avoiding the city centre altogether.
The number of tourists has doubled in five years and thousands of hotel rooms are still being built. In addition, the council has failed to tackle the problem of illegal rentals via websites such as Airbnb, the d’Oude Binnenstad organisation says.
‘The cement in society is disappearing,’ Bert Nap, who has lived in the city centre for 40 years, told broadcaster NOS. ‘You used to know your neighbours but now you have tourists who have come to party living next door. And after four days, you’ve got a new bunch.’
Companies and locals are also concerned about the surge in the number of souvenir shops and low budget snack bars and ice cream salons.
‘If Amsterdam company owners are complaining, then there really is a problem,’ city Labour councillor Dennis Boutkan said.
The city council has recently allocated an extra €1m to combat illegal rentals and has launched a campaign to spread tourists over a wider area of the city.