Wednesday 08 December 2021

Coronavirus crisis offers a new start for Amsterdam tourism


The collapse of the Amsterdam tourism industry offers an opportunity to boost Amsterdammers’ appreciation of the medieval centre where the red light district is concentrated, according to city officials.

‘We want to use this time to encourage Amsterdammers to go back to the inner city,’ Geerte Udo, head of the city’s marketing department Amsterdam&partners, told the Parool. ‘It would be wonderful if locals came to value their city and the centre more when the crisis is over.’

Amsterdam’s old centre had been largely abandoned to mass tourism and the sex industry until coronavirus hit, and is now an oasis of peace and quiet. Thanks to coronavirus, hotels, bars and cafes are closed and window prostitution has stopped because of the ban on work involving physical contact.

Amsterdam in post-corona world: a kinder tourism?

The city centre is ‘completely out of balance,’ Mascha ten Bruggencate, head of Centrum borough council told the paper. ‘And this crisis is making this abundantly clear.’

City officials have already started to reclaim the centre by banning holiday lets, introducing a quota for B&Bs and stopping red light district tours.

Udo expects tourism to gear up again once the crisis is over, but told the Parool it would be a missed opportunity if nothing changed. ‘We really don’t want all these problems in the city centre,’ she said.

City marketing efforts instead would concentrate on encouraging people to behave, and to visit museums, the Parool said.

‘We are building a new reputation for Amsterdam, by telling a different story,’ Udo said. ‘We have to make the most of the momentum.’ has contacted Amsterdam&partners for comment.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.