Amsterdam and the Coronavirus crisis

Amsterdam during the Coronavirus lockdown

Corona virus COVID-19 stops overtourism in its tracks

Dam square, normally one of Amsterdam's busiest squares, seen during the Coronavirus lockdown
Normally busy Dam square seen during the ‘intelligent lockdown’ due to the Coronavirus crisis. While not mandatory, people are strongly encouraged to stay at home at all times. (Image: screenshot from the Amsterdam Dam webcam)

What a difference a virus makes. Just like other popular cities around the world, Amsterdam went from struggling with overtourism to deserted canals, streets, and squares virtually overnight.

More about that in a moment. But first, some Amsterdam Coronavirus facts:

Amsterdam Coronavirus Facts

In the Netherlands at present 23.097 people are or have been infected with the Corona virus. 2643 have died.

In the Amsterdam region 1519 people are or have been infected.

The real number of infections is higher, since only people admitted to a hospital are actively tested for COVID-19.

Status last updated: Sunday, April 12, 2020 – 6:25 AM CET

Progressively Stricter Measures in Amsterdam

Since the start of the crisis, authorities have issued a number of progressively stricter measures. The aim: slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus.

Museums and tourist attractions closed

There is a ban on meetings and gatherings that potentially include more than 100 attendants. This ban will last until at least June 1.

This measure led to the closure of

What is an intelligent lockdown?

In what the government refers to as an ‘intelligent lockdown‘ authorities encourage people to work from home if at all possible.

The Netherlands does not (yet) have a mandatory lockdown. An ‘intelligent lockdown’ means people should be wise: stay home as much as possible.

It’s OK to go for a walk in the neighborhood or to visit a grocery store, but all unnecessary travel should be avoided.

Damrak, the main street between Amsterdam Central Station and Dam square is nearly empty a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Normally teeming with locals and tourists alike, Damrak — the main thoroughfare between Amsterdam Central Station and Dam square — is nearly deserted during the ‘intelligent lockdown.’ Public transport still operates, but on a greatly reduced schedule. Those yellow spots? Planters with tulips.

Hotels, restaurants and schools closed

Next (March 15) horeca (Hotel, Restaurant, Café) services closed. Food takeout and delivery services may continue.

In a practice referred to as ‘hamster shopping,’ grocery stores see a run on toilet paper, rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, and everything else customers want to hoard.

Grocery stores see their home delivery services maxed out.

Run on Coffeeshops

Coffeeshops? Well, the ones that normally serve quality brews and pastries are closed; while the shops that primarily serve cannabis are allowed to sell their wares via kiosk-style take-out windows.

Initially the latter were closed down completely as part of the ban on horeca services. But when illegal street sellers immediately took over authorities quickly decided to make an exception.

Salient detail: While social media showed Americans lining up to buy guns, the Dutch were lining up to stockpile weed.

Many shops closed

On March 23 the government announced stricter measures. For one thing, all meetings and events, regardless of size, are banned until June 1.

Also, In many areas gatherings of more than 3 people are banned until June 1. Mayors have been given the power to fine people who break the rules. That includes those who do not keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 foot) from others.

Many shops closed due to this measure. Others, including supermarkets, limit access to a certain number of people at a time. Some have either extended or curtailed their opening hours.

Which shops are still open in Amsterdam?

Tip: This Dutch-language website includes a list of Amsterdam shops that thus far remain open during the Coronavirus crisis.

Street markets may only include stalls that sell food. Here, too, people must stay at least 1.5 meters (5 foot) from others.

Naturally, those who work in so-called contact professions in the field of external care (think barber shops, beauticians, and personal trainers) cannot ply their trade for the time being.

Here’s Dam Square on a normal day, as filmed by Amsterdam city chronicler Thomas Schlijper

Financial Assistance during the crisis

The government has made financial assistance available to help companies survive the effects of the crisis. This includes loans and/or subsidies.

ZZP’ers — ‘self-employed without personnel’ — are eligible for financial assistance as well.

King’s Day, Festivals, and other large scale events

There will be no King’s Day (April 27) celebrations anywhere in the country. National Remembrance Day (May 4) and Liberation Day (May 5) will not include public events either.

Coronavirus impact on Amsterdam’s tourism industry

In 2019 Amsterdam, a city of 1.1 million people, saw nearly 20 million tourists. Nearly 45% of them come from the Netherlands, by the way.

But now tourism has screeched to a halt — with the hordes stopped in their tracks by the Coronavirus.

What city officials and local activists were unable to accomplish, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) managed to do: stem the overflow of tourists visiting Amsterdam.

Sure, it’s only a temporary reprieve, and the circumstances are far from ideal. But many Amsterdammers — particularly those who live in the city center — are breathing a sigh of relief.

Hotels, B&B, and city-destroyer Airbnb

Most hotels and B&B’s have closed, as have the fast majority of accommodations normally available through city-destroyer Airbnb. (You can tell we’re not fans, right? If you use Airbnb, you help rob and destroy communities and cities, including Amsterdam.)

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Travel restrictions have grounded most passenger airplanes.

Due to the greatly reduced number of flights in- and out of the airport, Schiphol has closed down 5 of its 7 piers.

Take plenty of time to get to the aiport as public transport to and from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol operates on a reduced schedule. Buses and trains may be subject to delays.

Public Transport

Public transport in Amsterdam (and throughout the Netherlands) is operating on reduced schedules.

In addition, those who travel on buses, trams, trains, and ferries must observe the rule to keep 1.5 meters (5 foot) distance from each other.

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