Amsterdam imposes tax hike; bans Airbnb; curtails beer bikes

Amsterdam has unveiled plans to rein in tourism, reflecting the dissatisfaction of many residents who feel the city’s centuries-old center has been overrun. The citizens and the political parties have decided upon returning the “Balance to the City,” in a document that amounts to part of a governing pact.

“The positive sides of tourism such as employment and city revenues are being more and more overshadowed by the negative consequences,” including trash and noise pollution,” the document said. The document outlines changes including curtailing “amusement transportation” such as multiperson “beer bikes,” cracking down on alcohol use in boats on the canals, further restricting Airbnb and other home rentals, and a large tax hike.

With a population of around 800,000, the city expects 18 million tourists in 2018, an increase of 20 per cent from 2016. Anti-tourist and anti-expatriate sentiment have been steadily on the rise in Amsterdam, as both are blamed in part for helping to drive housing prices increasingly out of the reach of ordinary Dutch people.