Tourists told to behave in ‘Old Holland’ as popularity surges

Chinese tourists in Volendam. Photo:

The success of ‘Old Holland’ – Volendam, Marken and the Zaanse Schans –  as a tourist overflow for Amsterdam has led to holiday firms handing out rules for tourists so locals can live in peace, the Parool reports.

This week bus companies organising tours to the popular tourist destinations were given a map, developed by Amsterdam officials, which not only shows where to park and the best times to visit but also a set of rules for tourists, the paper writes.

These include not photographing locals without permission, not getting too close to their homes and not dropping litter.

‘It is confusing for tourists. The Zaanse Schans is like an open air museum and visitors just step into the houses’, Zaanse Schans director Peter-Jan van Steenbergen told the paper.

Van Steenbergen says things have improved since the days when locals were awakened by tour guides shouting through megaphones on a Sunday morning. The guides now use microphones and the tourists are wearing ear phones.

Coach parties

The worst offenders are the tourists who come by the busload. ‘They are only here for a short time and tend to feel they can do pretty much anything they like,’ Van Steenbergen is quoted as saying.

‘I talked to someone who opened the curtains in the morning and found himself staring at nine camera lenses. And visitors like to knock on the wooden walls of the houses to see if it’s really wood. Not very nice if  you’re sitting inside, of course,’ Van Steenbergen told the paper.

The rules are part of a bigger move towards managing the increasing number of tourists to the area. The Zaanse Schans windmill park has up to two million visitors a year but this number is expected to grow to three million in the next 10 years. Working with time slots may be inevitable, according to Van Steenbergen. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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