Amsterdam’s Bold Move to Relocate Cruise Terminal by 2035

Amsterdam’s Bold Move to Relocate Cruise Terminal by 2035: A New Era for the City

In a significant stride towards sustainable tourism and urban living, Amsterdam is set to relocate its passenger cruise terminal by 2035, moving it away from the bustling city centre. This strategic move was confirmed by the city council on Thursday, alongside a series of measures aimed at reducing the impact of cruise tourism on the city.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth docked in Amsterdam, Netherlands - © Copyright: Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth docked in Amsterdam, Netherlands – © Copyright: Sail Away Magazine

From 2026, the number of cruise ships permitted to dock at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) will be nearly halved, dropping from 190 to a maximum of 100. This reduction is part of a broader initiative to manage tourism growth and mitigate associated nuisances. As part of this effort, the council has announced that Rotterdam will accommodate more than 40 ships that will no longer be allowed to dock in Amsterdam.

Additionally, from 2027, all vessels docking at the Amsterdam terminal will be required to use shore power, reducing emissions and contributing to a cleaner environment. The Amsterdam City Council emphasized the importance of these measures in their recent statement:

“With these measures, the city is implementing the municipal council’s wish to put an end to the cruise terminal in Amsterdam. Banning cruise ships is also part of a broad package of measures to limit the growth of tourism and combat nuisance.”

Alderman Hester van Buren further elaborated on the council’s vision for the city:

“The city council wants a liveable, clean, and sustainable city. Sea cruise is a polluting form of tourism and contributes to crowds and emissions in the city. By limiting sea cruises, requiring shore power, and aiming for the cruise terminal (PTA) to move from its current location in 2035, the council is responsibly implementing the council’s proposal to stop sea cruises. With these balanced steps, the council tries to meet what is reasonable and acceptable to all parties.”

However, the council has acknowledged the economic implications of this decision. The restriction on cruise ships is expected to lead to a decrease in spending by sea cruise passengers and shipping companies in the city, impacting sectors such as museums, catering, shops, and excursions. Additionally, there will be less income from tourist taxes and lower dividend payments from the port authority. The financial repercussions of these changes will be reflected in the next budget memorandum, although no significant impact is anticipated for the 2025 budget.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth docked in Amsterdam, Netherlands - © Copyright: Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth docked in Amsterdam, Netherlands – © Copyright: Sail Away Magazine

Despite these challenges, the cruise industry has shown support for the relocation plan. A spokesperson for the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) commented:

“The announcement is a great example of the cruise industry’s long-standing partnership with the Port of Amsterdam and the direct outcome of our collaborative discussions on the relocation of the passenger terminal outside the city centre, which started back in 2016. Amsterdam is and will remain a popular cruise destination, and cruise tourism will continue delivering important economic benefits to the city – to the tune of around €105 million annually. That economic contribution is particularly significant when you consider that of the more than 21 million visitors to Amsterdam each year, only around 1% arrive by cruise ship.”

As Amsterdam charts a course towards a more sustainable future, the city’s commitment to balancing tourism and livability remains clear. The relocation of the cruise terminal marks a pivotal step in this journey, promising a cleaner, quieter, and more sustainable urban environment for residents and visitors alike.