Like a wannabe beauty queen repeatedly smashing herself in the face with a hammer, Amsterdam City Council continues its glorious mission to destroy Amsterdam’s tourist industry and the international goodwill it generates for the city.
The Volkskrant reports the horrifying news that over 5000 Amsterdam property owners are flagrantly renting out their properties to tourists, despite the council’s attempts to discourage all such capitalistic activities.
In particular, the Volkskrant highlights a council official’s breathless observation that, if the owner of a particular property achieves full occupancy (presumably by providing a good service at a competitive price) he can make “€14,000 a week … That is a lot of money”. Yes, dear council robot, it is called business and that is where the taxes that pay the wages and benefits for your completely unnecessary “job” come from.
Unlike almost every other city in the world, who warmly welcome the way in which the online vacation rentals revolution, much like the cheap airlines revolution, has allowed whole new categories of visitor to cheerfully throw around their cash in Amsterdam, the city council has sided with the powerful hotel lobby, who say they cannot compete with the prices that normal citizens charge for accommodating visitors (not entirely surprising when you realize how spectacularly over-priced Amsterdam hotels are in comparison to other European cities).
The city council’s innovative attempts to hold back the digital tide include a rule that property owners can rent out their properties for no more than 60 days a year and, no matter how large the property, to no more than 4 guests.
This extraordinary interference in the rights of property owners (who already pay crippling council taxes and utility rates, along with, of course, a special tourist tax) is, apparently, considered an excellent idea by the Volkskrant who, in an act of heroic journalism, spent a few minutes on the Airbnb website and figured out that the vast majority of citizens listing their properties online have reacted to these ridiculous and unfair rules by wisely ignoring them.
Having delightedly present their homework to teacher, the weasels from the Volkskrant were then invited to strap on their bullet-proof vests and accompany the council enforcers on several dawn raids, rudely awakening a range of hungover and bewildered tourists who had no idea what was going on.
Sadly, this is what those visitors to our city will remember of Amsterdam: not the Van Gogh museum, not the beauty of the our oldest streets, but their brutal early-morning encounter with the police state and a bunch of jumped-up civil servants treating them like criminals because they engaged in a voluntary financial transaction with the owner of the property they slept in.