Sunday 18 August 2019

Too many tourists spoil the fun: locals call for action on overcrowding

Popular Dutch attractions like the Zaanse Schans windmill village and the Keukenhof tulip gardens are being overrun by tourists and locals are clamouring for ways to combat the crowds, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday.

Better ways of regulating visits via online reservations and increasing the attractiveness of other places in the region would help relieve the pressure on the most popular attractions, Jos Vranken, director of tourism organisation NBTC told the paper.

The number of Dutch and foreign visitors is projected to grow 50% to over 60 million in 2030, with Amsterdam seeing an increase from 19 million to 30 million tourists.

Car park

People living in the Zaanse Schans windmill village north of Amsterdam have now come out against proposals by the local council to build a car park and charge entrance fees.

‘We have problems with parking, that is true. But all the council wants is to make money. (..) We don’t need extra tourists. It has to be fun to come here and not to stand in a queue to visit the shops,’ shopkeeper’s association spokesman Marc van Dorth said.

Fence

Tourism can’t be regulated at the Zaanse Schans precisely because it is a public area, Piet Oudega, chairman of the Zaanse Schans association told the paper.

‘We don’t want to put a fence around it either but according to our calculations the number of tourist has gone up to 2.3 million,’ he said. ‘And that means we have to find a new system, perhaps one where we keep the area accessible but ask people to pay to visit a mill.’

In November last year millers living in the village of Kinderdijk protested at being swamped by the huge numbers of tourists. The mills attract some 600,000 visitors a year.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam too is under pressure to reduce the number of tourists in the city centre.

An increase in tourist tax, further measures to reduce holiday rentals via online agencies like Airbnb and efforts to encourage people to visit other parts of the city are all part of the strategy to spread tourists city-wide.

One of Amsterdam’s most photographed tourist attractions, the red and white Iamsterdam letters, were removed from their usual position in front of the Rijksmuseum in December.

The decision to remove the letters, which have been a popular draw with tourists for 14 years, was taken by the left-wing green party GroenLinks, who say the slogan had become a symbol for mass tourism.

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