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Amsterdam bans cruise ships to limit visitors and curb pollution

Amsterdam’s council has banned cruise ships from the city centre as the Dutch capital tries to limit visitor numbers and curb pollution.

Politicians said the vessels were not in line with the city’s sustainable ambitions.

It means the central cruise terminal on the River IJ near Amsterdam’s main train station will close.

It is the latest measure to clamp down on mass tourism in the city.

Cruise ships have become a symbol of the problem, with more than 100 mooring in the capital every year.

The council has been trying to scrub up the city, banning cannabis smoking on the streets of the red-light district.

In March the city launched an online campaign urging young British men considering holding their bachelor parties in Amsterdam to stay away.

Amsterdam has become a victim of its own popularity, attracting 20 million annual visitors – some drawn by its party city reputation.

“Cruise ships in the centre of the city don’t fit in with Amsterdam’s task of cutting the number of tourists,” said Ilana Rooderkerk of the liberal D66 party, which runs the city along with the Labour party and environmentalists.

Ms Rooderkerk recently compared cruise tourists to a type of “plague of locusts” descending all at once on the city.

Other Amsterdam officials have baulked at that kind of language. But Mayor Femke Halsema complained last year that cruise tourists were let loose for a couple of hours, ate at international chains and had no time to visit a museum, consuming the city but doing little for it.

The other key reason for removing cruise ships is to lower air pollution levels in Amsterdam. A 2021 study of one big cruise ship found that it had produced the same levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in one day as 30,000 trucks.

Other mooring sites away from the city centre have been under consideration for some time but no decision has yet been taken.

In a separate development, Amsterdam has announced plans to beef up night-time culture for young people.

The city has outlined its aim to find nightclub locations such as disused tunnels and garages to develop the talent of “creative young people who want to organise something at night”.