Amsterdam: What the surrounding area has to offer – travel

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There are too many tourists in the capital of the Netherlands. The solution: They should swarm into the surrounding area. Is this a good idea?

When Jacob Reitsma speaks of the painting "Het Weerpad", he gets goose bumps, which he can not hide in his sleeveless shirt. "The picture is a mystery to me," he says. Claude Monet created it in 1871, when he made a stopover in Zaandam on the way from London to Paris. For four months he stayed in the small town with the many shipyards on the northern edge of Amsterdam. Zaandams windmills and canals, the colorful wooden houses, the light and the typical boats with little depth had the artist done it. So he painted 25 works here, impressions of a rural maritime Dutch on the eve of the industrial revolution, which should drastically change the appearance of the region in the following years.

"Het Weerpad" shows a street on which a woman walks over a bridge – and of course windmills. Of the thousand or so that were still in the polder landscape of Monet, there are only two dozen left. But not the fact that Monet documented a sinking world causes goosebumps in Jacob Reitsma, but the question of why the artist placed his windmills in places where Reitsma's knowledge could have stood none – "and that, although Monet always in Painted outdoors and recorded exactly what he saw ", as Reitsma explains.

Nine years ago he founded the Monet Foundation together with other art lovers. He wants to attract tourists to Zaandam with the help of the famous painter. "When we started, even in Zaandam, hardly anyone knew anything about him," says Reitsma. In 2021, the stay is the 150th anniversary. At the latest then the world should know why Zaandam must be considered the Monet city of the Netherlands. But so far the interest is still limited. "There are few tourists to us," says Reitsma.

That should also change after the will of the Amsterdam city administration. Since March this year, Amsterdam Marketing has a new director, Geerter Udo, and the new name Amsterdam & Partners. This is a change of direction that began a few years ago: The city no longer advertises itself. "Amsterdam is well-known enough," says Geerte Udo, "instead of marketing, we rely on steering and distribution of guests."

This is part of the fight against the negative consequences of your own success. Every year 19 million tourists come to the 864,000-inhabitant city, and there are more and more. If growth continues as it has in the past, 30 million visitors will be counted in 2030. Already, the streets of the canal district are overcrowded at peak times. Low-cost airlines, cruises and booking platforms are considered the root causes of the mass onslaught. The libertarian image of Amsterdam as a paradise of stoners and suitors has led to rampant party tourism. Bachelors hordes roaring through the red-light district annoy the locals. Airbnb accommodation is changing the social fabric of residential neighborhoods because they are driving prices up and residents are surrounded by strangers.

"Tourism is growing anyway"

Normally tourism managers promote their region. Not in Amsterdam. Director Geerte Udo says why.Interview by Jochen Temsch


The city has decided a tough set of measures: construction freezes for hotels and souvenir shops, strict rules for Airbnb, limits for tours, the closure of roads and hefty fines for alcohol consumption in public places (95 euros), urinating (140 euros) or the littering of parks (140 euros). Patrolmen cash in directly, also cashless.

Men between the ages of 18 and 34 from the UK and the Netherlands are the worst group of visitors. This is the goal of the "Enjoy and Respect" campaign. Even when the youngsters google for Amsterdam and certain keywords, they are shown banner and video with the core message: Amsterdam is open to all, but freedom has its limits. The city limits are a way to equalize the flow of tourists. It takes less than 10 minutes by train from the main train station to Zaandam.

. (tagsToTranslate) Traveling Region (t) Amsterdam (t) Netherlands (t) Overtourism (t) Tourism (t) Travel (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung