Amsterdam, which has recently seen endless controversies over short-term rentals, traffic, tours of the Red Light district and even whether to promote itself to visitors new faces one over boats on its famed canals.
Last week, over 70 boats gathered near Mayor Femke Halsema's canalside residence, protesting proposed new rules that would ban boats from using the canals at night or from carrying more than 12 passengers. The rules are aimed at making life easier for people living in houseboats along the canal and other locals bothered by noise at night.
Ignoring the protests, the Council has passed the rules, adding a limit on commercial boat licenses; only 550 will be issued. There are estimated to be about 7,000 privately-owned boats on the canals, and proponents of the rules says that some are being hired out as party boats to make money. The rules will make it hard to do that. The Council also agreed to look into possibly banning alcohol on boats.
Boat owners, who have gathered 10,000 signatures against the rules, deny that rentals are a real issue. One of them was quoted in local press saying My boat is my back garden and I want to be able to decide how many people I invite. If I want to take my children’s class on a trip, then I should be able to.’
Photo: boat-owner protest at Mayor's residence