Residents come first, says Amsterdam Marketing boss
Amsterdam should be more focused on its residents and less on tourism, according to Amsterdam Marketing director Frans van der Avert. "The city's credo must be: 'residents first'. As far as I'm concerned, the city is the residents. For without residents, there is no city", he said to the Telegraaf.
"Tourism provides money and jobs, but that should not be the only driving force. If a resident does not want to live in the city anymore, the city loses its DNA. Then an empty husk will remain", Van der Avert said.
Van der Avert is a big fan of the trinity between work, living and recreation that the city has been using for years to make Amsterdam a pleasant place to live in. But that balance is difficult in some parts of the Dutch capital. "The city is not an attraction, but a place where people live. If you don't want to museumize the city center, then you need to create space for the residents."
Other cities like Prague and Bruges are struggling with the same problem of guiding the influx of tourists properly, Van der Avert said. "Those cities have it rough. Barcelona was one of the first cities where the pressure was noticeable", he said to the newspaper. "The city's marketing was focused on more and more. You see that the tourism debate in many cities is about jobs and income. In Barcelona that was so successful that they hit a wall. Meanwhile, measures are being taken because it is clear that that is not the way. A city must stay alive, otherwise it is not good for tourism."
According to Van der Avert, there are two key words: clean and empty. "The new Rokin for example. There the city will breathe again. The Turfmarkt, for example, became fun again because there is nothing there anymore. It will probably never be quieter in the city. But a more pleasant and liveable city must definitely succeed."