Tours can be done in English (native US), Dutch, French (near native) Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or German.

Cafe Het Bonte Paard

The restrooms here are located outside, just as they always were since the opening in the 19th century, even though I am sure they are somewhat more comfortable than in those days…

Cafe “Het Bonte Paard”is an old historical tavern in the center of Laren, a beautiful town in “Het Gooi”, about 20 minutes away from Amsterdam by car,
and highly worth a visit!

Het Bonte Paard

The municipality of Amsterdam is restricting access to city center

No vehicles may enter Amstel Rokin-Damrak and Spuistraat starting April 13, 2017

Above decision was just made by the City of Amsterdam. It basically means that from April 13 on, tour buses will no longer be able to use the most important thoroughfare of Amsterdam, Amstel – Rokin – Damrak – Spui – Nieuwe Zijds Voorburgwal, except those authorized to reach a specific destination within that zone. This basically means that the city sightseeing tour can’t proceed as usual, of course a disaster with the tourist season about to start, brochures for this season already printed, and many groups already booked!

This comes on top of 2 other recently made decisions by the city, namely to restrict walking tours to groups of 20, with a maximum of 25, and plans to move the PTA to a harbor location out of the city center! The city feels, that there is dangerous overcrowding in the center because of a too high concentration of visitors.
It seems that the “iAmsterdam” campaign of the tourist office has become a victim of it’s own success, attracting many new tourists here; among them unfortunately also the tourist who spends very little, and basically is just here to smoke marihuana or hashish, and get drunk in the Red Light District, thereby causing much of this problem, although there are probably other contributors such as AIRBNB. But the net result is that the city is going after tourism as a whole, an industry which provides a living for thousands!

I suggest we fight this, first by taking advantage of the 6 weeks the city allows to file a complaint, and convince it not only that the tourism industry is flourishing here and has worked very hard to promote the Netherlands, Amsterdam & surroundings as a warm, welcoming destination, and the undue hardship it would cause to the thousands employed in this industry, if right at the beginning of the tourist season, the promises in brochures already printed, and commitments to groups already booked, could no longer be honored; and that we should work together to find different solutions, such as spreading tourism to other cities and across the region, although we are of course aware some of these efforts are already ongoing.

I hope many of you agree with me, and will support this initiative by signing the petition, once it has been written, along with -from those of you in the Amsterdam area- welcoming any suggestions/contacts for (free) meeting space next week, so we can compose this letter together!

Many thanks, and look forward to getting together with many of you soon – the time and date will be announced shortly!

Marion Baumgarten