Amsterdam’s last floating florist moves to dry land blaming overtourism
Amsterdam’s last floating florist is moving his business to dry land, and he attributes having to do so to overtourism. Michael Saarlos has been located up to now in the Bloemenmarkt, a row of floating barges on the Singel canal that contains 16 stalls. Bloemenmarket was founded in 1862 and used to be entirely comprised of flower shops, but these days, the other 15 stalls sell items like clogs, magnets, wooden and plastic tulips and young cannabis plants.
Saarlos is moving to a location 750 metres from his current spot, although his family has sold flowers at the floating market since 1943. An estimated 18.5 million people will visit Amsterdam this year, and the florist says that large groups of tourists block out his real customers by crowding around and taking photographs of his stall. He also claims that the local council hasn’t enforced the rule that only 25% of any stall can be used to sell non-plant-related products.
Saarlos is unhappy about the number of budget flights that facilitate the large numbers of visitors arriving to the city. “I have had enough of all the tourists who ruin my trade,” he told Dutch newspaper, Trouw. “If they are here with a group, I can no longer see my own customers. All day long the florist has to shout what I’ve written on the signs: ‘Do not photograph!’”
Amsterdam has been taking measures to reduce the issues that come with overtourism, including banning guided tours of the red-light district from 2020, implementing a 7% tourist tax, and introducing more restrictions on Airbnb. The loss of Michael Saarlos, the last florist in the Bloemenmarkt, has disappointed the local council, who told Trouw that it was “very unfortunate.”
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