Sea of Locusts: Amsterdam Wants to Ban Cruise Ships

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

In a bid to stop ‘over-tourism,’ Amsterdam’s city council has approved a proposed ban on cruise ships and the closure of the city’s port terminal.

It is hoped this move will help reduce the pollution caused by the massive ships and the hordes of tourists that enter the city after disembarking.

Amsterdam Wants to Ban Cruise Ships
Image credit: Canva.

The plan is to move the current downtown ship terminal and build a new one further out. “A clear decision has been made by the council that the cruise (terminal) should leave the city,” Ilana Rooderkerk, head of the centrist D66 party in Amsterdam, told The Associated Press. “The municipal executive of Amsterdam is now going to work on how to implement it. In any case, as far as we are concerned, large ships no longer moor in the city center of Amsterdam.”

After developing a notorious reputation as a party city, home to legalized marijuana and its infamous red light district, Amsterdam is now trying to clean up its image, recently urging British tourists not to hold bachelor parties in the city and requiring brothels to put up curtains.

Amsterdam isn’t alone in its quest to manage tourists, with cities like Venice and Rome also devising plans on how to handle the huge post-COVID crowds that visit their city centers.

It’s also the concern surrounding climate change that is driving these changes. One 2021 study found that one large cruise ship emits the same nitrogen oxide levels each day as 30,000 trucks. Add on top the environmental impact of each individual passenger, and it’s easy to understand the huge impact cruise ships have on cities. Rooderkerk called the influx of tourists a “sea of locusts,” according to the BBC.

Amsterdam tourists
Image Credit: Canva.

Amsterdam has been at the forefront of sustainability for some time, and some believe this potential ban is long overdue. “The polluting cruise does not match the sustainable ambitions of our city,” Rooderkerk tweeted after the vote.

It’s unlikely the port will be closed immediately, however. The Director of Cruise Port Amsterdam, Dick de Graaff, is still waiting on what is next for the city’s central port.

“There is no immediate closing of the terminal. The council’s call is to relocate the terminal – and we await a follow-up from the alderman on investigations,” he wrote in an email response.

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