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Should You Go? Amsterdam Breaks Tourism Records Despite Discouraging Tourists From Visiting

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While digital nomadism, solo travel, and dupe destinations are the latest travel trends, one could argue that overtourism is the latest trend on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Travel is so hot in 2024 that some popular destinations are flat-out saying, “Do not come here!” Some are justified, some are overblown, and some are just being “Karens.”

Regardless of the situation, overtourism is definitely a cause for concern whether for simply being able to enjoy your trip, or for environmental/safety reasons.

Female tourist with flag in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam's case, we all know how the iconic Dutch city is free-spirited yet charming and historic.

The city has issued multiple ‘Stay Away' campaigns in hopes of deterring tourists as the city has become too rowdy.

However, a new report just confirmed their cries to discourage tourists from visiting are falling on deaf ears as the 2023 was a record year for tourism.

But the question remains: should you go?

Why Amsterdam Is Such A Draw In The First Place

Amsterdam sign at historic building

Europe is teeming with amazing destinations, but the ones that stand out the most have stood the test of time.

You know, Paris, London, Athens, and of course, Amsterdam. There are tons of reasons these cities are still mainstays when it comes to European tourism.

Although, this doesn't seem to be a title Amsterdam is interested in keeping. Nonetheless, the city is still a draw despite very clear undertones of being unwelcome.

The popular Dutch city is one for the books – storybooks that is. It's beautiful, historic, and one of the best cities to enjoy being outside.

Amsterdam canal on nice day

And if we're being honest that's a good thing since hotels aren't known to be the cheapest here.

Rather than getting your cardio in with Pelaton, there's no better place in Europe to explore by bike.

Amsterdam definitely draws a crowd in summer with a mix of free spirits, partygoers, and your run-of-the-mill adventurer just looking to enjoy all that Amsterdam has to offer.

The problem is the first two types that locals are up in arms about despite their self-induced culture of 24/7 nightlife, and let's just say “open-minded” cafes that are frowned upon elsewhere, at the very least.

Time To Tone It Down A Notch

Bars and cafes in Amsterdam

If Amsterdam is a must-visit spot for you this year, then you may want to consider the reasons behind your trip.

Ask yourself why you're visiting and be prepared to get a stink-eye or two if you're obviously not a local.

The truth is that Amsterdam has long been a place to let loose, but that's not the entire appeal. History buffs will love one of the main attractions, which is Anna Frank's house.

Others will simply love a change of pace biking around the scenic canals and vibrant, colorful buildings lining the waterway.

Tulips along historic buildings of Amsterdam

That being said, if you're ready to paint the town red, this is the category where you're not going to be welcomed with open arms any longer.

Playing devil's advocate, however, locals may assume this is every type of traveler, so it's hard to differentiate who is who.

For example, when I cross into Tijuana from San Diego, I'm pestered almost every time because vendors assume I'm going to a pharmacy, when in reality, I just want some cheap tacos and margs.

The same may occur in Amsterdam where locals may assume all tourists are there for the very reasons the ‘Stay Away' campaign was implemented in the first place.

Couple visiting Amsterdam canal

Amsterdam Has So Many Dubbelgangers

Not that Germany has anything to do with Amsterdam's newfound sour attitude towards tourists, but “doppelgängers” is a German word often borrowed to describe a look-alike.

In Dutch, it translates to “dubbelganger” and there are plenty of them friendlier to tourists right now.

If you're wanting the perfect photo-op next to European canals, Amsterdam isn't so special hence tourists come here for more reasons than the famous canal.

Even within The Netherlands, there are multiple other towns for picturesque canals like Utrecht, Dordrecht, and The Hague.

Oudegracht canal in Utrecht

Travelers can venture further into Europe and find even more picture-perfect canal-lined streets in Bruges, Belgium, and Gdansk, Poland, among others.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Bianca Scheepbouwer

Monday 3rd of June 2024

Even though Amsterdam is amazing (I am Dutch and I lived there for 13 years) I seriously suggest that people, who love beautiful foto ops of quaint houses straight from the middle ages, canals, drawbridges, houseboats, bikes, open air (flower)markets, lovely terraces, old castles, churches and amazing museums, visit any of the other old cities in the Netherlands. We have tons of them. Haarlem, Delft, Leiden, Deventer, Groningen, Alkmaar, Zwolle, to name but a few, are every bit as pretty as Amsterdam, often less crowded, with smaller city centers where everything is within walking distance, and affordable hotels. And may I especially pitch Maastricht, one of the most beautiful cities in the world imho, close to Belgium and therefore with more flair than the northern cities and an amazing restaurant scene? If the "wild side" of Amsterdam especially attracts you: there is not a city in the Netherlands that does not have at least one "coffeeshop" where they sell more than coffee and at least one street where very hospitable ladies who are not afraid to catch a cold greet you from their windows with pretty red lights. So you can also get your groove on in these other cities, if you are so inclined.