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Amsterdam wants to put an end to souvenir shops
Posted on 13/10/2017

SocietyThe Netherlands

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Ordinary residents as well as representatives from Amsterdam's City Council are calling for end to the ever expanding presence of souvenir shops in the Dutch capital. This is the first time ever that a mayor of a major world capital has called for legislation which would place limitations on tourist boutiques.

Locals are saying 'enough is enough'

Locals are saying 'enough is enough'
Mykola Kokaryev/123RF

This article was originally published in French.

The law applies only to Amsterdam's city center

The law applies only to Amsterdam's city center
Aliaksei Skreidzeleu/123RF

In response to the public outcry by Amsterdam's residence, the city's mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, has announced on October 5th that the city council will go ahead with implementing a new law that will prohibit the creation of any new shops specifically targeting tourists. So far the law only applies to Amsterdam's city center, which is comprise of some 40 streets.

Souvenir shops, that most uninspired of tourism byproducts, have become an intrinsic part of any major tourist destination. No doubt you have seen them, dozens of shops sometimes taking up whole streets, all stocked with identical trinkets. While the locals' dissatisfaction with these types of shops is nothing new, Amsterdam's move to put a cap on such boutiques is unprecedented.

Amsterdam's relatively small city center already has some 280 registered souvenir shops. While it is true that the number of people visiting the city increases by about 5% each year, 2016 saw an estimated 17 million visitors, Amsterdam's town hall wants to avoid following the example of Venice. For many, the capital of Venetia has become a veritable 'tourist factory,' a city crumbling under the ever increasing number souvenir stalls and sacrificing its charm and authenticity in the process.