Amsterdammers leaving the city as coronavirus infections rise
After years of growth, Amsterdam's population has been shrinking since the start of the coronavirus. With fewer expats and international students coming to the city, and more Amsterdam residents moving to quieter, less crowded places, the Dutch capital seems to have lost its appeal, Het Parool reports.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in March, the Amsterdam population decreased by almost 4 thousand until July, the newspaper wrote based on figures from Statistics Netherlands. The Dutch population in its entirety also decreased as closed borders stopped immigration, but that decrease ended in April. Amsterdam's population decreased by more than a thousand per month in March, April and May, and another 600 in June.
Amsterdam's population decline is mainly because the coronavirus brought immigration from abroad to a halt. Expats now struggle to find jobs, as companies who tend to hire them like Booking.com are now dismissing people instead. The inflow of international students is also decreasing, according to the newspaper. At same time, the number of Amsterdam residents leaving the city was again higher this year than the year before.
Amsterdam is vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis, Jeroen Slot of Amsterdam's information and statistics service OIS said to the newspaper. Amsterdam, along with Rotterdam, were the main coronavirus hotspots in the country this summer. And the crowded streets and parks make the city unattractive to people who try to maintain social distancing. "The appeal of Amsterdam is under pressure," Slot said to Het Parool.
Population decline can have major consequences for the city, ING economist Rico Luman said to the newspaper. "This is not good news for the economy. Population growth is one of the driving forces of economic growth. The more Amsterdammers, the greater the consumption in the shops and catering industry."
Whether the population decline will continue, remains to be seen. On the one hand, fewer residents mean less pressure on the housing market, which could give starters and young people a better chance of a home and attract them to the city. On the other, more working from home means that people no longer have to live close to their work, and that is one more reason not to move to the city.