Amsterdam news summary | February 2019
Written by BroadcastAMS on 26/02/2019
Here’s a news roundup for Amsterdam this month …
The effort to tackle illegal holiday rentals has seen a major setback as the talks between the city council and the providers; Airbnb, Booking.com and HomeAway, have failed. According to the new rules of the municipality, as of 1 January 2019, Amsterdammers are only allowed to rent out their home for a maximum of 30 days per year, down from the previous maximum of 60 days per year. Platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Homeaway can easily prevent this from happening on their sites, but they refuse to do so, according to Alderman Laurens Ivens in a letter to the city council. As reported by Het Parool newspaper, Ivens says: “That will lead to more violations.” There had been an agreement with the providers to make it impossible for Amsterdam home owners to exceed the maximum number of rental days however that agreement expired on 1 January 2019 and will not be renewed. Ivens will attempt separate negotiations with each of the three companies and may also look for help from the Dutch government to bring about new measures.
Amsterdam wants fewer ‘category’ VMBOs, HAVOs and gymnasia schools | The association of school boards in Amsterdam secondary education (aka Osvo) has stated in its Education Agenda that secondary schools in the city are going to become broad again. In the recent past, mostly ‘category’ schools have been created, offering either a VMBO, HAVO or VWO education, and therefore only open to children with the corresponding educational recommendations. The city council and the Osvo recognise that each year there is great competition for places at the more popular schools while student numbers at other schools have dropped. School boards see that segregation increases and that children do not get the same opportunities. The new vision is to encourage a broader school environment where pupils of all levels meet each other and a child can more easily move between educational streams when appropriate. According to the city’s statistics bureau, the number of secondary school pupils will increase until 2023, but then will drop by 1.6%, the number of children with HAVO and VWO advice is increasing and there are also fewer VMBO pupils, creating overcapacity at VMBO schools. There’s several moves and consolidations planned for Amsterdam’s secondary schools from 2020, and the city council is set to save €25m. Further changes to Amsterdam secondary school education are to be expected.
Action group Mokum Reclaimed has claimed it has a permit to make parks and squares festival-free for a year and in February 2019 they even held an opening ceremony for ‘Het Jaar van het Park en Plein’. Their aim is to claim back Amsterdam’s public parks from too many private events and festivals so that they can be used simply as parks for the year. They cite the nuisance festivals cause for local residents and instead they would organise walks and debates in the parks. According to Het Parool newspaper, the action group successfully raised enough money to pay for the required licence fee and submitted their application without a rejection. They believe this provides the legal right to hold this year-long non-festival, however, it seems that the Amsterdam city council do not agree. They say a permit is not necessary for the activities Mokum Reclaimed have proposed so no permit has been provided. And several big festivals are still planned for 2019, eg Loveland at Sloterpark in August, and multiple events in Westerpark. So festival life seems to be going on as usual and Mokum Reclaimed are taking legal action. What’s the current situation? See the activist’s website: https://www.mokum-reclaimed.nl
Fewer events in Westerpark this year | Melanie van der Horst, from the executive committee of Stadsdeel West has recognised that last year there were events in the Westergasfabriek (and the grassy area beside it) pretty much every weekend during the high season from April to October. She has said that this year there will be fewer events – according to Het Parool newspaper, 21 out of 30 weekends, so approximately two thirds of weekends. And following a consultation with local residents, businesses and event organisers, there will be one less multi-day festival around the Westerpark space: the TNW conference (from The Next Web) will take place at NDSM wharf in Amsterdam Noord in May 2019, while the Milkshake, Rollende Keukens and Vrij Westen events will stay in the Westerpark for now. Stadsdeel West will also install green energy options on the site for use by event organisers.
In February the concert organiser, Mojo, announced the initial line up for Lowlands, the annual music festival in the nearby Dutch province of Flevoland, and it’s already sold out. The 53 acts announced include Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, The Prodigy and New Order. Lowlands takes place at Walibi Holland amusement park in Biddinghuizen from 16-18 August. Looking to buy a resale ticket? Just beware, there are a lot of fraudsters around. Follow the advice on http://www.weetwaarjekoopt.nl and use their police database link to check IBANs and more. Ticketswap.nl, seatwave.nl and viagogo.nl are suggested places to try to find tickets at fair prices.
On Stadionplein next to the Olympic Stadium, an iconic renovation will soon be completed of the Citroën building from 1962. Known as Building 1962 (or Gebouw Noord), it’s one of two old Citroën garages in that spot, with Gebouw Zuid or Building 1932 (which was, you guessed it, built in 1932) still under renovation. Architect Jan Wils, who also designed the historic Olympic Stadium, designed both the 1932 and 1962 buildings and is known for his part in De Stijl movement. Jaap Huisman, writing in Het Parool, says he’s glad this national monument has been rejuvenated but it’s too bad there are no more Citroëns on the roof. The new complex has been renamed ‘The Olympic’ and will have mixed use as offices and catering. Already moved into Building 1962 are the headquarters of the sportswear brand Under Armour, Bacardi Europe and Deloitte Digital, as well as the mediterranean restaurant chain, Neni. The latter also have a bar area they’ve named The Lemonman, in honour of the Citroën family’s roots as fruit traders, serving lots of citrus-infused cocktails.
In April 2020, the American Hotel on the Leidseplein is going to become the first Hard Rock Hotel in the Netherlands. Since the news broke it’s attracted fairly negative reactions. There’s a bit of outrage that this “117-year-old art nouveau monument” will be rebranded in this way. There is also already a Hard Rock Cafe nearby. However, according to Het Parool newspaper, the hotel manager, Léon Dijkstra, points to the hotel’s history of hosting visiting rock stars and it’s proximity to the Melkweg and Paradiso music venues, as reasons why the brand is a good fit. The American Hotel is owned by Amsterdam Eden Hotels (a Dutch hotel group) and they’ve already restyled 100 rooms and suites to match Hard Rock Hotels in a franchise agreement with the American chain. The historic exterior of the hotel should remain the same.
Soon, there will be four mooring spots for superyachts in Amsterdam | To the west of Centraal Station, yachts of up to 80m in length will be able to stay for a maximum of seven nights. It’s not just another plan to lure rich tourists, the city also hopes this will stimulate the local yacht-building industry. A new wharf will be added in 2019 which will also accommodate super yachts (up to 160m) in need of repair.
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Sources: Het Parool / AT5 / NLtimes.nl / Dutchnews.nl.