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Amsterdam Blocks New Hotels to Fight Mass Tourism



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Amsterdam, one of the world’s most popular destinations, has capped its hotel supply to put a ceiling on mass tourism.

Amsterdam has banned new hotel developments to combat mass tourism, the municipal government announced Wednesday.


“Amsterdam will no longer be issuing permits for new hotels, except for a ‘new-for-old arrangement’ in which a new hotel may only be built if a hotel elsewhere closes and the number of sleeping places [beds] does not increase,” said a spokesperson for the government. 

The replacement hotel must be “qualitatively” better, such as more sustainable, and be at least 4 stars under the European Hotel Classification system. The government is also encouraging new hotels build outside the city center, said the spokesperson.

Amsterdam has over 470 hotels and 49,000 rooms, according to Costar.


The aim of the hotel-cap policy is to limit annual overnight stays in Amsterdam to 20 million. In 2023, Amsterdam had 20,665,000 hotel night stays, according to the city government.

“We want to make and keep the city livable for residents and visitors. This means: no overtourism, no new hotels, and no more than 20 million hotel nights by tourists per year,” the government said in its announcement.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s most popular destinations. The city globally ranked fifth in terms of international traveler spending with $13.6 billion in 2022, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. 


Amsterdam’s Dwindling Hotel Pipeline 

The new hotel cap is even more restrictive than its “no-unless” policy. Starting in 2017, the city limited the zones where new hotels could be introduced to certain areas.

To build new hotels in those areas, hotel developers needed to demonstrate they’ve taken into account the interests of the local neighborhood, that the new property will be sustainable, along with other requirements.

Only three hotel plans have met the “no-unless” policy, causing a slowdown in the pipeline. “The pipeline of current initiatives is now becoming empty, although 26 initiatives are still on the books with granted permits,” said a city government spokesperson.


In 2024, four new hotels are scheduled to open and 5 hotels are under construction, according to Costar.

Amsterdam Clamps Down on Mass Tourism

The new hotel restriction is Amsterdam’s latest move to discourage mass tourism. This year, the city raised its tourist tax from 7% to 12.5%.

Amsterdam has also been trying to deter party and drug tourists from traveling to its popular Red Light District.  This year, the government launched a second version of its ‘Stay Away’ marketing campaign in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

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