Amsterdam announces sharp increase in tourist tax for hotel rooms, cruise passengers
Amsterdam is significantly increasing taxes on tourists and cruise ship passengers to raise money in its budget for more shelter places, poverty reduction measures, and healthcare organizations, among other things. “We do not have to increase the costs of our residents, but we are going to charge visitors a little more,” finance laderman Hester van Buren said, Parool reports.
The tourist tax rate is increasing from 7 percent over the room charge and 3 euros per person per night to a flat 12.5 percent over the room fee. Currently, two people staying in a 200 euro per night room would pay 20 euros in tax. That will rise to 25 euros, essentially a tax hike of 25 percent in that scenario.
Cruise ship passengers who visit Amsterdam will pay 11 euros per person, nearly a 38 percent increase from the current fee of 8 euros.
Amsterdam has taken many measures to reduce tourism, especially in the crowded city center. This year, the city has banned smoking cannabis on the Red Light District streets, imposed earlier closing times on bars and sex work establishments, and announced plans to limit bed and breakfast establishments, cruises, and house-swapping vacations. The city council also supported plans to move cruise ships out of the city center, and mayor Femke Halsema is still working on her controversial plan for an erotic center to move sex workers and their visitors out of the Red Light District.
The new tax hikes put Amsterdam in the top five countries with the highest tourist taxes worldwide. Van Buren expects to raise over 65 million euros extra annually with the tourist tax from 2027. In the spring memorandum, the spring update to the current year’s budget, that amount was still 30 million euros.
Amsterdam plans to use that money to tackle the “major tasks” the city faces, Van Buren said. Poverty regulations for locals with an income up to 130 percent of the social minimum will be extended. The city will push money into increasing the number of family schools, which offer help to parents, from 10 to 25. Amsterdam also wants to create 300 to 400 childcare and residential places annually for Amsterdammers at risk of homelessness.
All city districts and Weesp will jointly receive 9 million euros over the next two years to tackle local problems in consultation with residents. Nieuw-West, Zuidoost, and Noord will get an additional 21 million euros. “We are investing unevenly in areas. We are having a conversation within the municipality about distributing resources for the city, and it is very different than before,” Van Buren said.
The city won’t cut subsidies, makes more money available for water tasks like sewage treatment and rainwater collection, and is pushing 11 million euros into welfare, care, and youth care providers. The budget also includes 15 million euros for the approach to public housing, 500,000 euros for the fight against rats, and a budget bump of 73 to 81 million euros per year for enforcement.
Amsterdam will face a budget deficit of 40 million euros in 2027 due to the “financial ravine” - the amounts that the national government transfers to municipalities and provinces every year - decreasing. The city hopes to convince the new Cabinet to increase this amount again.
The city’s debt will amount to 8.7 billion euros in 2027. Van Buren pointed out that the supervisory authority of Noord-Holland approved the debt. Borrowing money is necessary for major projects like a bridge over the IJ or the new Meervaart, also noted in the budget.
In the coming weeks, the city council will debate the budget with Van Buren and argue for changes they deem necessary. The final budget will be adopted in November.