Amsterdam city officials, anxious to reduce the sheer number of tourists clustering at traditional attractions in the center of the city, such as the Anne Frank House, the Red Light District and Dam Square, have cooked up an innovative marketing campaign to persuade tourists that they should, instead, wander about the city’s outer districts.
Sources in the council, speaking on condition of animosity, suggest that the primary motivation behind this policy is to somehow deal with the relatively new phenomenon of mass Chinese tourism. They tend to arrive unpredictably in large groups and seem to be unaware of when they are stepping onto a road or bicycle lane, leading to a record number of accidents in the city center. The feeling is that it makes more sense to send these Chinese coach parties out into the suburbs where they will have room to move, take photos and buy wooden clogs without getting knocked unconscious by a bicycle.
If the Chinese can just be persuaded that the “cultural melting-pot” of Zuidoost will give them the quintessential Dutch experience, it will be a win for everyone, and it will certainly be a unique opportunity for people who have a culture of working incredibly hard throughout their lives to compare notes with locals who have never held a job.
Being Dutch, the city’s marketing officials hopped onto their bicycles and rode around, trying to figure out how to sell the unique charms of each district. Later, gathered around a whiteboard, they managed to sum up, in a one-sentence slogan, the main selling-point of each. These magical descriptions are now being disseminated via a website, billboards and booklets but, fear not, you don’t have to rush out and find them, we have collected all eleven here for your convenience, amusement and entertainment:
NDSM: Old shipyard turned creative haven
Noordelijke IJ-oever: Urban renewal meets nature’s beauty
Westerpark: Vibrant atmosphere against a green backdrop
Oud-West: Local hotspots and hidden gems
Bos & Lommer and De Baarsjes: Celebrating diversity around every corner
Oud-Zuid: From age-old art to high-end chic
De Pijp: Bustling mix of culture, cuisine and cafés
Oosterpark: Hip places, green spaces and diverse faces
Oostelijke Eilanden: Where water and modern architecture meet
De Plantage: Cultural garden with an elegant touch
Zuidoost: Cultural melting pot and large-scale entertainment
So, if any of that sounds like more fun than hanging around, getting stoned in the Red Light District or getting all weepy over at the Anne Frank House, well, each of the above areas is only a tram-ride away. Even better, if a particular area really rings your bell, well, why not stay there? The AmsterdamEscape website offers reputable vacation rental apartments in all of these districts (and, of course, in the city center), you can certainly find terrific value if you rent an apartment or house in a less traditionally touristy location.