Cruise travelers visiting Amsterdam will start paying more in tourist taxes in 2024 as the city has voted to raise tourist taxes on both hotel stays as well as cruise passengers.
This will add significantly to the fees cruisers pay whether Amsterdam is a homeport for their sailing or just a port of call on a European cruise vacation.
Tourist Taxes Increasing in Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands and a popular cruise port stop as well as homeport, will be increasing tourist taxes in 2024, including fees assessed specifically to cruise guests.
The increase is part of the city’s 2024 budget, and includes a 12.5% fee increase on overnight guests. This will impact not only visitors arriving in the city for land-based vacations, but also cruise travelers setting sail from or ending their cruise in Amsterdam if they choose to spend extra time in the city pre- or post-cruise, as is common for many cruisers who fly to meet their ships.
The overnight tax will vary based on hotel costs, as the fee is calculated as a percentage of hotel rate a guest pays.
In addition, an extra €3 (approximately $3.17 USD) fee will be levied against all cruise ship passengers. This increases the current fee from €8 to €11 ($8.46 to $11.64) per guest for port of call visits.
The city estimates that the total amount raised from tourist taxes in 2024, including the new fee, will be approximately €65 million ($68.7 million).
It should be noted that unlike fees charged in some locations where the monies raised are designated for port improvements, the fees in Amsterdam are intended for local resources and quality of life improvements such as poverty initiatives, healthcare, and other uses.
“The tourist tax will increase: visitors will thus contribute to the city’s major tasks,” said Hester van Buren, Deputy Mayor and Alderman for Finance for Amsterdam. “This allows us to tackle the consequences of overtourism and make extra efforts to keep the streets clean and solve acute problems in neighbourhoods and neighbourhoods.”
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These fee increases give Amsterdam the highest tourist taxes in the European Union, which includes 27 member countries.
Cities in many of those countries charge similar fees, which often vary based on how long a guest remains in the city – longer hotel stays may have lower fees or be exempt, for example – or whether the visit occurs during a peak season or less busy time of year.
Cruise ship crew members are exempt from the tourist fees in Amsterdam, which will be a great relief to crew members who regularly visit the city either as a homeport or port of call when such fees could add up substantially.
Cruising to Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands sees cruise visitors year-round, with ships from many different lines making calls on the city. Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International are just some of the ocean-going cruise lines that visit the city.
Itineraries that include Amsterdam often tour different capital cities of northern Europe, or may be making voyages to the Norwegian Fjords and stop in Amsterdam along the way. North Sea itineraries often feature Amsterdam as well.
In addition to ocean cruises, the city is a popular stop for river cruises, with many local and regional lines include visits to the canal-oriented city.
Visits may not always be guaranteed, however. Because the city relies heavily on locks and canals, water levels can vary and may impact scheduling that could cause missed ports of call for cruise ships. Such schedule changes were impacting Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn in the summer of 2022, and can always arise again.
In July 2023, there was a motion for the Amsterdam City Council to severely limit or even ban cruise ships altogether, with the possibility of relocating the cruise terminal outside the city center. Those recommendations may take some time – even years – to fully implement.
At the moment, cruise visits to Amsterdam in 2024 will go ahead as planned, albeit with a fee increase on cruise guests. This will not stop ships from visiting the beautiful and historic city, however, but the funds raised will hopefully keep the city beautiful for visitors to enjoy for many years to come.