Over­run red-light city dims down the fun

The West Australian - - WORLD -

Am­s­ter­dam, city of red lights and cannabis cafes, may soon be pulling the plug on the party.

Fol­low­ing the ex­am­ples of Barcelona and Venice, Am­s­ter­dam’s main po­lit­i­cal par­ties have an­nounced rad­i­cal mea­sures to turn down the vol­ume of tourism and re­verse the “Dis­ney­fi­ca­tion” of the city.

A coali­tion of four par­ties, ne­go­ti­at­ing to form the new city gov­ern­ment, has is­sued a pledge of agreed re­forms to pro­vide “bal­ance in the city”.

It will ban Airbnb short-term rentals in busy ar­eas, di­vert cruise ships from dock­ing in the cen­tre and crack down on “fun rides” such as Seg­ways, beer bikes and boozy boat trips.

The tourist tax will also rise from be­tween 4 per cent and 6 per cent to a flat 7 per cent, rais­ing €105 mil­lion (about $165 mil­lion) a year by 2022.

“We have to en­sure that the city stays live­able for all res­i­dents,” Yvette Hof­man, a spokes­woman for GroenLinks greenLeft party, said. “This is a sub­ject that re­ally mat­ters to res­i­dents, who have felt un­der at­tack by in­creas­ing crowds, partly due to Airbnb and il­le­gal ho­tels. They have com­plained that they no longer know their neigh­bours and of a tourist mono­cul­ture in the cen­tre.”

The move come af­ter city per­mits and turn­stiles on busy streets in Venice, a ban on pri­vate rentals to tourists in Palma, Ma­jorca, and a ban on new ho­tels in Barcelona.

A sunny day in Am­s­ter­dam.

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