Amsterdam’s Last Floating Florist Is Closing Due to Overtourism
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The last florist at Amsterdam’s floating flower market is shutting its doors, according to Dutch newspaper, De Trouw. And overtourism is to blame.
A colorful and fragrant fixture on Amsterdam’s Singel Canal, the Bloemenmarkt claims the distinction of being the world’s only floating flower market. But sadly, it’s not what it used to be. Though the stalls are now on fixed barges, the market dates back to 1862, when gardeners from the surrounding countryside would sell their flowers on boats floating in the Amstel River.
According to De Trouw, Michael Saarloos — the last floating florist in Amsterdam — will be the final member of his family to sell at the Bloemenmarkt. Sick and tired of the tourists that overrun the market, he will be shutting down the family-run shop, which has been there since 1943.
“I have had enough of all the tourists who ruin my trade. If they are here with a group, I can no longer see my own customers,” Saarloos told De Trouw.
If you’ve been to Amsterdam recently, you can probably understand his frustration. I was there just a few days ago, and had to weave my way through the hordes of tourists crowding the Bloemenmarkt in order to get back to Hotel de l’Europe, where I was staying. Aside from packaged tulip bulbs, the market’s stalls were filled with floral-themed souvenirs for sale, such as wooden tulips, magnets and other cheap tchotchkes — another thing that irks Saarloos.
City council rules state that no more than 25% of a stall’s wares can be devoted to non-plant-related products, but according to Saarloos, “No one ever enforces the rule.”
A representative for Amsterdam&Partners, the city’s tourism board, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson with the tourism board told me on another occasion how they are working to combat overtourism in the city.
“It is essential to broaden the perception of Amsterdam Area’s diversity to manage visitor’s traffic and avoid overcrowding in the city centre,” a press officer told me in the days leading up to my visit.
According to Matador Network, an estimated 18.5 million tourists will visit Amsterdam this year, and that figure is expected to rise to 23 million by 2025. To put that into perspective, Amsterdam’s population is less than 1 million.
Just last month, the mayor’s office banned tours of the Red Light District in an effort to prevent overcrowding. And late last year, the city’s iconic “Iamsterdam” sign was removed after more than a decade, in an effort to combat the mass tourism.
It’s not yet known what will become of the Bloemenmarkt.
Featured photo by Fadi Hage / Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.