In Empty Amsterdam, Reconsidering Tourism

When international travel came to a halt last year, Amsterdam — like cities everywhere — was drained of tourists almost overnight. The effect, according to Sonia Philipse, the owner of the restaurant Lavinia Good Food, was both surreal and serene: Without the crowds, her city was quieter and more beautiful than she had ever seen it.“At this point we’re missing our tourists again,” Ms. Philipse said recently. “But I think there was a moment of really big joy in getting our city back.”
ImageA bicyclist crosses a canal bridge in the historic center of Amsterdam.A bicyclist crosses a canal bridge in the historic center of Amsterdam.Credit…Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times
It’s a tension that Amsterdam has been trying to navigate for years: how to embrace its status as a vibrant, international hub without making the city unlivable for its residents — and without letting go of its famous, free-spirited roots.

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