It’s official: Amsterdam is completely overloaded with tourists

It’s hard to walk around Amsterdam without running into a few — or a few thousand — tourists. So it’s no surprise to hear that it’s now scientifically and officially confirmed: the Dutch capital is overloaded.

Amsterdam is amazing, which is why everyone wants to live there, and even more people want to travel there. It’s bound to get a bit crowded.

However, we didn’t realise just how crowded Amsterdam really is — until we read this study. 👇

Let’s talk about data

The travel agency Holidu just conducted a study on the most visited European cities, and developed a handy ranking for anyone wishing to escape the crowds this (late) summer.

In order to reach their conclusions, only data from 2019 was used. This was to make sure pandemic tourist numbers wouldn’t interfere with the results.

They combined the “most visited cities” lists of The Savvy Backpacker and Air Mundo, to compile the ultimate list of the most popular European destinations.

Then, they divided the number of tourists in 2019 by the number of local residents, and ended up with an ultimate list of Europe’s busiest travel destinations.

Amsterdam lands in the top 10

Out of 35 cities, Amsterdam lands in 8th place, with a whopping 12 tourists in the city per inhabitant — yikes!

That’s worse than Paris, Prague, and Barcelona, but quite a bit better than Dubrovnik, Venice, and Florence. Well, well, we’re not really surprised…

READ MORE | The Netherlands is about to get six new night trains to major European cities!

Check out the complete overview here:

It's safe to say, if you're planning a trip to Amsterdam, you can expect to drown in bumbags, backpacks, and selfie sticks.

But don't let that stop you from enjoying the Dutch capital — after all, it's popular for a reason!

Do you think Amsterdam is too touristy for its own good? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Juni Moltubak
Juni Moltubak
Juni moved to the Netherlands after realizing how expensive tuition fees in the UK are, and never regretted her choice of studying in The Hague. After three years of Political Science, she is ready for a new adventure — an internship at DutchReview! When you don’t see her typing on her laptop she can be found strolling around Haagse Bos or sitting in her lovely garden scrolling through interior design TikToks.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Any data available on expats drowning our capital? Paying too much money for apartments and not participating in their neighbourhoods? As long as I have to order my food and drinks in English and my sons have to live at home until they are 27 because there is no affordableplace to live, tourists are more favorable than those lot.

    • Why don’t you sell that food and drink yourself… oh wait, there are no more Dutch workers in that area. Also in transportation, Healthcare, horeca, education, etc. I guess the only hope will be the expats.
      The prices for housing are high because Dutch just like to make more profit and didn’t set a limit for bidding. So yeah, blame foreigners for that too

      • Goddamn boy, that’s an ignorant answer. I don’t think she’s talking about those poor polish girls in hospitality. They’re probably not the ones paying 3000 euros for a tiny apartment or 16 euros for a fucking toast with mashed avocados. It’s the IT expats that stay here for five years. Their company doesn’t give af how much their apartment costs or whether they bother to learn Dutch

    • As an expat who learned to speak Dutch let me tell you a few things.
      1. Dutch people are the reason everyone speaks English. Most of them just will not speak any Dutch to you while learning because they are desperate to show off how amazing their English is. I had to fight hard to learn your language. You are even posting in English on a site read by expats. What the hell Brenda.
      2. There has been a housing shortage here for a while now and it’s not the fault of the expats. Your government is not allowing enough new housing to be built to meet the needs of your economy.
      3. There is a cost of living crisis going on for young people all over the Western world and this is also not caused by expats. It is caused by wage stagnation among other things.
      4. Participating in neighbourhoods? Since when do modern Dutch people participate in their neighbourhoods? They are notoriously private. I have only ever seen participation once and it was in a volksbuurt, and by participating I mean drinking Schulten Brau together.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am also very unhappy about the price of housing and erosion of Dutchness. That’s why I learned Dutch and loudly sing Hazes songs at the karaoke every Friday, but let’s not blame expats for Holland’s biggest problems when they are clearly not the cause.

      • As an immigrant to The Netherlands, I agree with all your points. I had to learn Dutch when I came here but then nobody would let me practise my Dutch with them. I participated in everything my daughter’s school did just so I could have the social interactions I needed but few would reciprocate and even fewer would meet me even halfway in my efforts.

        And most of the Dutch are under the mistaken impression that they are warm lovable people, and maybe they are, but only to the people whom they are already close to. If you are an outsider looking to meet new Dutch people, you can pretty much forget it.

    • Lets be honest Brenda without expats nothing would be different, there were no afforable housing in the 70’s and 80’s so what is your excuse? The main reason expats do not get involved in their communites is because overall the Dutch are at heart, zenophobic, cold, unaprroachable and unfriendly if you like data you read how your one of the most unfriendliest countries in the world, not just Europe.

    • Amsterdam has always been a multicultural city. You are complaining about having to order your food in English: Do you realize, that is because there is a massive shortage of staff especially in the hospitality sector? You should be thankful that you can order your food at all, whether it be in English or Dutch. It is thanks to those expats that we can fill workers in some much needed sectors.

      A much ignorant comment indeed.

  2. I’m don’t believe that expats are be blamed for the housing situation. That phenomenon is global in nature.

    Regarding speaking English to order your meals – that has as much to do with the cosmopolitan draw of Amsterdam and the pervasive staffing shortages.

    Expats bring a lot of value to this city. Probably better to identify more sensible solutions than targeting demographics.

  3. I spent nearly a week in Amsterdam mid-July 2022. Stayed in a nice moderate priced hotel on a tram route, one stop from a train station and across from Park West. There were a number of local restaurants within reasonable walking distance, Great time.

  4. Having just spent a few days each in Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels I’d definitely say the former has the best tourism infrastructure – east to get around on foot and bike, free and regular ferries (to/from Nord), a wide variety of attractions for all audiences (despite its compact size) and the attractions are best-in-class in terms of customer experience and online booking platforms (also comparing with NY and London). On the downside, accommodation is more expensive and in shorter supply, but that’s a sign of success. Hope to visit again soon – we love it.

  5. We had a great time this spring when we visited, the countryside is SO gorgeous. The city & canals where very unique, we lived the canal tour & the cute homes all so close together. The airport was horrible, we got stuck in those 3-4 hour lines, & just barely got our return to the U.S A. Covid checks in time.

  6. I’m surprised the people ‘tourist’ do not venture further out in the Netherlands. There are so many other great places, towns and Cities, as well as the beautiful scenic countryside all over the Country to visit and spend time.

  7. The main big problem with the big city is cannabis tourism. There should be an age cap for 25 years and over to enter coffeeshops. I would like to think that should bring the numbers down. Too many 18 to 25 year olds that act like little kids that cause the problem in the city.

  8. Overtourism can be directly attributed to air b n b and other non-vetted, non-regulated “accommodations”. They need to be banned or forced to operate under hotel regulations.

  9. Yes Amsterdam is a super beautiful city and worth visiting. However if you book a hotel in the also beautiful city of Haarlem ( 10 mins by train to Amsterdam)you save a lot of money. Go to the place to be: Oude Groenmarkt with the Ambassador hotel and plenty restaurants and bars.

  10. Dear Brenda, I’m so sorry to hear about your negative feelings about expats. I just moved to the Netherlands for work, and I’m totally happy here living with my wife. Although we’re considered “expats”, we do intend to be part of our community and actively participate on making it great. Maybe, you can suggest us how to be more involved in the society here; we would love to hear your suggestions. By the way, we’re studying Dutch and would love to be able to become fluent.

  11. Look, we live in a much more global world now than back in the 19 hundreds.
    Capital cities and other large interesting cities are meeting places for people from all over the world who are interested in meeting people from cultures from all over the world on a daily basis.

    If you don’t want any part in the global community and only want to meet locals, interact with locals who speak the local language perfectly and only take part in local culture then there are often many hundreds of other cities and villages that are much better suited for this than the bigger cities in a country.

  12. Living in the red light distict I already knew this. The problem is not really the amount of tourists it’s more their behavior. Walking in the middle of the road, screaming in the middle of the night, pissing and vomiting on our doorsteps etc. This is more problematic
    .

  13. Sweety, Amsterdam does not attract tourism simply because it’s “amazing”…. it attacks it because the whole industry (especially in the city center) is built on tourism. Who prospers from that industry? kut expats? tourists themselves? or the locals?
    When you make these kinds of shallow assumptions, could you at least check the data more accurately?! Is there any information about how much the tourism sector contributed to local GDP for instance?
    I don’t want to say over-tourism is a good thing, but the problem is more about the infrastructure and the lack of regulations than the tourists themselves.

    And if you talk about the annoying tourists with “selfie sticks” and roaming backpackers, don’t forget to mention the lovely Dutch festivals like Kings Day when the whole old town is covered with urine and beer, and no, not by the kut tourists but by the local dutch population.

  14. We recently cancelled our trip to Amsterdam, moving it up to next April due to the mess at Schipol. See you then, Hennie!

  15. I’m sorry, but you are so wrong on one part. The city was built for and by Amsterdammers. Not for tourists. De Red light district was there long before you were born an so was the legalization of cannabis. We had poor reputation and were seen as scum….until people outside of the Netherlands started to grow up and realize. Legalization of cannabis was not organised for tourist, but to solve local problems and criminality, so please. Besides that, it costs more to clean up the city and keep it safe. Income from tourism is too low to cover the costs of maintaining. So my dear we make no profit at all from mostly cheap and messy tourism. You can go to the government offices and check the numbers. I agree we need better regulation. You are right on that one. And I know they are in the making. So please don’t give us low blows on our traditional Kings Day. Hope you can enjoy Amsterdam anyway.

    • It’s obvious expats are responsible for a lot of these things. However, it’s not the expats themselves who are to blame. Our government let it come to this point. We are the inventors of capitalism. And now we will see up close that in this system that we created, everything that flourishes, will die shortly after. Too bad it’s our capitol though. Hopefully our government will do something about expats and tourists.

  16. Tourists, expats and international students have ruined amsterdam and there is no space left for local Dutch people or people from Amsterdam stay away and allow local people to live in their own country again without you pissing all over it, LITERALLY and figuratively

  17. Hi Juno,
    I am from Asia , my family and I have been to Amsterdam. And of course every tourist would start with Amsterdam first. But after exploring other parts of Netherlands , I am in love with the southern part of Netherlands. Limburgh region. The waters, nature, Michelin restaurants, castles, wine tasting, loads of outdoor & indoor activities available.
    There is a lot to see in southern part of Netherlands. I heard about the City of Thorn , which right in the middle of Limburgh, filled with rich history and ruled by a woman back in the medieval time. Now that is an amazing finding to us and a story I want to tell my friends and families when I fly back home.
    20 minutes away from this luxurious Holiday Home where we were staying, there is Roermond, also a quaint little city with different vibe, also where a Luxury outlet is located, we asians love our shopping. Voila, our trip is complete!
    Only a walk away from Belgium and less than an hour to Düsseldorf.
    I wonder if the Netherlands government OR Netherlands tourism board going to resolve this over crowded Amsterdam. Are they even promoting other parts of Netherlands? There was hardly any article about Thorn!
    In Amsterdam we like to stay in Notting Hill Then we travelled to the south we found a gem, Maasresidence Thorn. Wished we didn’t have to go home. We will definitely come back again to that beautiful spot. Such tranquility and a great summer!
    Thank you Thorn & Maasresidence Thorn for the great experience !!

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