News from Amsterdam

To the front page

11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


2008 Archive

2007 Archive

2006 Archive

2005 Archive






Touristic ghettoization

13 May 2007 - When tourist guides describe Amsterdam, they refer mainly to the canals, the Jordaan, and the Museumplein area.

Often de Pijp is also mentioned to add a flavour of multiculturalism, and the Eastern Docklands because of their architecture. The rest of the city tends to be seen as ‘outer districts’ that tourists might as well ignore.

A couple years ago, the Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board decided that the districts must be developed for tourism. This was deemed necessary in order to relieve the inner city and to ‘further differentiate the overall tourist product Amsterdam’.

It has taken a while, but the districts have risen to the challenge. Centrum, Oost and Zeeburg made a plan to draw tourists to the Tropenmuseum, the multicultural shops at the Javastraat and the architecture in the Docklands.

Earlier, Oud-West had already presented plans to exploit its cultural facilities and its industrial heritage. The district wants tourists to walk around the yard of the Tettenrode Type Foundry with an audio tour on their heads, and to have a cup of tea with artists at the WG terrain.

Zuidoost invests 25,000 euro in an African market. “We want to be mentioned in the Lonely Planet, next to the Waterlooplein”, an initiator told het Parool. And Noord tries to sell itself as the garden of Amsterdam. “We welcome tourists, provided that they arrive on bicycle”, district chairman Rob Post told Metro.

To many Amsterdammers, this vision of the future will be somewhat shocking. Tourists are annoying. That they block the Damstraat is bad enough. It would be quite another thing to have them wandering through the entire city. It is tempting to put a fence around the city centre, but that is not possible, for sometimes we have to be there ourselves.

But to be honest, a city without tourists would be dull too. The irritation caused by the behaviour of the mass tourist should not translate into a xenophobic anti tourist attitude.

Last year, Agora magazine featured an article on dealings between local residents and tourists in the Belgian town of Brugge. The problems of some Bruggelings sound familiar. Tourists have no idea that cyclists use the city as well: “You ring your bell and they do not respond, and they are even mad that you ring!”

Author Jeroen Bryon states that Bruggelings still use the city centre for school, work, cultural facilities and shops, but that they increasingly avoid the area. The consequence is that shops are more and more forced to sell articles for tourists, further accentuating the image of a ‘touristic ghetto’. It is a vicious circle.

The ideal city draws large numbers of tourists, but you hardly notice them because they are absorbed by the local population.

In order to achieve this in Amsterdam we have to stop the touristic ghettoization of the city centre by spreading tourists over the entire city. This implies that we will have to welcome them in the ‘outer districts’ as well - even though this will take some getting used to.

Dirk Kloosterboer


Want to receive News from Amsterdam? Click here

This is the old website. Please find new content here