Busy Amsterdam Christmas prompts city to monitor crowds

Crowd monitoring at Amsterdam Centraal, 20 Dec 2017
Crowd monitoring at Amsterdam Centraal, 20 Dec 2017Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

The city of Amsterdam is implementing a crowd monitoring system to help keep the city safe and accessible for residents and visitors during the busy Christmas season. The system uses smart cameras and WiFi sensors to measure pedestrian traffic on the street. This data is analyzed and used by the police and municipality to make decisions on crowd control, the city announced in a press release.

"Every day Amsterdam has around 1.2 million bicycle trips and walkers and about 400 thousand car trips. In the Christmas period many people are off work and it is especially more crowded in the city center", Amsterdam alderman for traffic and transport Pieter Litjens said. "Popular places like the Red Light District and Kalverstraat attract many visitors. Here we will have extra monitoring during the Christmas period. In this way can control crowds and steer them in the right direction to preserve the Christmas spirit."

Traffic centers will also monitor traffic and keep in close contact with public transit company GVB, and extra traffic controllers will be deployed to ensure a good flow of bus traffic over the Christmas season. 

The municipality emphasizes that the data collected by the crowd monitoring system is collected in such a way that it can't be traced back to individuals. "Privacy is guaranteed."