Amsterdam allowed to ban more tourist shops in city center
The municipality of Amsterdam is allowed to ban new tourist shops from opening in the city center, the Council of State ruled on Wednesday in an appeal filed by a number of building owners and companies like the Amsterdam Cheese Company and Tours en Tickets.
Amsterdam's zoning pan "Shop Diversity Center" prohibits new shops opening in the city center that mainly target tourists and day visitors, such as souvenir shops. The municipality argued that it wants to counteract a so-called monoculture in the city center and prevent tourist shops from gaining the upper hand in the streets. Tourism companies that existed before 2017 are excluded from the zoning plan rules.
The building owners and companies objected to the restrictions imposed by the zoning plan, accusing the municipality of of violating the European Services Directive, discrimination, and causing property values to fall.
But the Council of State disagreed. According to the Council of State, the Amsterdam city council could reasonably conclude that there is a monoculture of shops and facilities in the city center, and that banning new tourist shops was in the interest of the people who live and work in Amsterdam. The Council of State also saw no grounds for claims of discrimination and building depreciation.
The Council of State did, however, declare one part of the zoning plan invalid that stated that the Amsterdam Cheese Company store on Damrak could not open. In a previous ruling in December 2018 the Council already stated that shop must be allowed to open because the Amsterdam Cheese Company had been working on the shop a long time before the ban on new tourist shops was enforced and the city council was aware of this.