Amsterdam news summary | August 2018
Written by @CathyCentral on 31/08/2018
Here’s a news roundup for Amsterdam this month
Amsterdam intends to enlist municipal officials and refugees to tackle the urgent shortage of teachers in the city. Four officals have a teaching qualification and may teach classes but others will be used as classroom assistants or in administration, in primary and secondary schools. Fifteen qualified refugees have also been identified, and it’s planned most of these will help teach maths in secondary schools. The Volkskrant newspaper reports that before summer there were roughly 300 vacancies, with 112 still open after the summer break. [Source: NL Times.]
The Green Living Lab, the greenest space at the Zuidas, is due to be shut down on 30 September to make way for a new VU building. According to Het Parool newspaper, this public garden by the Vrije Universiteit, the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam and Deloitte, is one of the most fertile plots of land in the Netherlands and boasts a rich variety of trees. Local volunteers, Aveen Colgan and Arthur de Smidt, had been loaned the land temporarily from the VU, but they still hold out hope that the space may be saved. [source: https://s.parool.nl/s-a4603471/]
Since April, the city council has granted 1700 permits to tourist guides under a new system. Aimed at reducing the substantial nuisance of large tourist groups in the Red Light District in particular, guides with more than 5 people in their tour now need a special license from the council. Although all applicants are accepted, if they break any of the rules for tours in the area, they can lose their permit or receive a fine. What are the rules? No more than twenty people are allowed per tour, no tours after 11pm, no stopping at busy places or shops, no photos of prostitutes, and tour participants must stand with their backs to the red windows. So far two tour guides have lost their license and 5 have had a warning and the city council believe the new system is already having positive effects. [source: https://s.parool.nl/s-a4603536/]
The owner of a new bakery/cafe on the Raadhuisstraat, near the Anne Frank Museum, has reacted quickly following public outrage at his name, Bakkerij Anne & Frank. He has changed the name already. But he wasn’t quick enough to stop widespread international coverage; the BBC and the New York Post were among the news outlets to have covered the story.
Travellers on the tram and metro network are not loving the new announcer’s voice, according to Het Parool newspaper, and comments on social media, with many calling it ‘unnatural’. A GVB spokesperson admitted there is a problem, saying it’s due to voice fragments have been patched together incorrectly. With the introduction of the Noord/Zuidlijn this July, and huge changes to the city’s tram routes, they didn’t have time to correct it, but they will do as soon as possible. Travellers should notice improvements to the voice announcements in due course. [source: https://s.parool.nl/s-a4602298/]
NB For the local transport changes see here: https://en.gvb.nl/reizen/nieuwe-tijden/overzicht-van-alle-wijzigingen
The Red Light District has new measures to tackle crowd problems | The Mayor, Femke Halsema, has announced that there will be better enforcement of the law so that antisocial behaviour in the RDL will be punished swiftly. Additional enforcers have been employed to help with this, with on-the-spot fines for offenders. When needed, the authorities should now act quicker to close off streets and bring in crush barriers. Streets can now also be closed to help street cleaners in the Red Light District deal with litter. Mayor Halsema is calling these closures, ‘Dweilpauzes’ (or ‘Mop breaks’). Further action is to be expected. (Source: https://www.parool.nl/amsterdam/halsema-pakt-door-met-lik-op-stukbeleid-wallen~a4602599/)
TunFun, the childrens’ indoor play park which was closed earlier in the year, for fire safety reasons, is now open again and under new ownership. This company, NedStede, has now made the necessary adjustments; improving fire escape routes, adding fire retardant materials, and updating the electrics, for example. Most of the changes are not obviously visible so for those familiar with Tun Fun, the play park will look much the same.
On Wednesday 5 September, there will be a “lock down” in the city centre, due to a protest by police officers. From 8am until noon officers will block street entrances and hold banners; part of labour actions to influence a better collective bargaining agreement. Police unions are complaining of dangerously high work loads. Other actions by police officers include ceasing to collect fines and deleting images from speed cameras. [Source: NL Times.]
A Dutch novelist has claimed that “Amsterdam is being un-created” by tourism | In an opinion piece for The Guardian, , Joost de Vries laments the mass influx of tourists to the city, with particular reference to the Venice-trap that we seem to have fallen into. His piece has sparked some good debate, with many observing that the problem is limited to the centrum, with local neighbourhoods mostly unaffected. And the comments section is fun as always: ‘CitizenNL’s crafty solution is to serve all tourists a “Compulsary Dutch breakfast with seven raw herrings”. But what do you think?
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Sources: Het Parool / AT5 / NLtimes.nl / Dutchnews.nl.