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Amsterdam municipality wants to move a cruise liner terminal out of the heart of the historic capital as the latest step in its ongoing battle against pollution and hoards of tourists clogging its narrow, cobbled streets, it was announced Friday. Image Credit: AP

Amsterdam: Amsterdam voted to ban cruise ships in an effort to cut back on the inflow of tourists and reduce pollution from the giant vessels.

The Dutch capital’s council voted on Thursday to restrict the jumbo ships from docking in the city and aims to close its central cruise-ship terminal, according to a municipality spokesperson. The timeline and details of implementation will be decided after consultations with various stakeholders, the spokesperson said.

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“The polluting cruise is not in line with Amsterdam’s sustainable ambitions,” said Ilana Rooderkerk, the local leader of the socially progressive D66 party, which introduced the motion. “Cruise ships in the city center also do not fit in with the task of combating mass tourism.”

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Amsterdam has one of the largest cruise ports in Europe, hosting hundreds of mega ships and about 700,000 cruise passengers each year. The country has other cruise terminals in Rotterdam and IJmuiden.

The decision comes amid a wider crackdown on the tourist influx and sense of disruption they bring to Amsterdam. Mayor Femke Halsema has been spearheading a campaign to discourage visitors from taking what she has called a “vacation from morals.”

Amsterdam attracts more than 1 million tourists on average each month, surpassing its population of just over 800,000. Halsema is determined to permanently shift the economic balance between residents and tourists.

Italy’s government introduced measures in 2021 to ban large cruise ships in Venice’s historic lagoon to protect the site from mass tourism.