Amsterdam has escalated its fight against overtourism in the popular Dutch city by slashing the number of river cruise arrivals by half to just 1150 a year by 2028.

The number of cruise ships that sailed into the city’s canals and waterways soared to 2300 last year – a sharp increase from the 1327 ships that visited the city in 2011.

By slashing the number of arrivals of river cruise ships, the city will play host to 271,000 fewer tourists a year.

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Amsterdam canal

Number of river cruise ships slashed

“Amsterdam must be and remain liveable, for residents and visitors,” said a statement from the Amsterdam City Council.

“That is why we take measures to combat overtourism. We want to halve the number of river cruise ships in the city within five years to a maximum of 1150 in 2028. Fewer river cruises mean less crowds and more quality of life.”

My Cruises deals
Traditional dutch windmills and houses near the canal in Zaanstad village, Netherlands.

Ban on new hotel buildings

Amsterdam City Council also plans to ban the construction of new hotels to discourage overnight tourists from visiting the city and staying in the city centre. The move is to limit the number of overnight stays in the city to just 20 million tourists annually.

For many international river cruise lines, Amsterdam is a popular start and end of 15-day itineraries to and from Budapest on the Rhine and Danube rivers.

Large ocean ships also banned

For sometime, Amsterdam has been actively campaigning against overtourism in the tiny and compact city. Last July, the city banned large ocean-going cruise ships from docking in the city centre.

Rhine River ports
Boats in Amsterdam’s canal

“River cruises contribute to the crowds and emissions in the city, with tourists, overnight stays, bus movements and supply traffic.

“River cruises therefore remain part of the Amsterdam visitor economy. We focus on the most sustainable ships that have a connection for green shore power,” the Council said.