amsterdam&partners is dedicated to building a realistic reputation of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, guiding visitors on a cultural journey. The company tell stories and collect data to improve the visitor experience and the liveability of the area’s residents.
Its network is made up of more than 800 partners, including government authorities and cultural organisations, tourism industry and knowledge institutions.
‘I amsterdam’ is the motto of the Amsterdam brand. It expresses diversity, cohesion, and the freedom to be who you want to be and to love who you want to love. The aim is to create a regenerative visitor economy that adds value, actively focusing on visitors who come for conferences and culture, in the broadest sense.
Through the not-for-profit organisation, visitors can purchase a digital I am City Card to explore all corners of Amsterdam. This includes public transport, more than 70 museums, a canal cruise and bicycle rental and much more.
Geerte Udo, Director of amsterdam&partners, tells us more.
Q&A WITH GEERTE UDO, DIRECTOR, amsterdam&partners
Can you talk us through the origin of amsterdam&partners?
Geerte Udo, Director (GU): amsterdam&partners is a public-private foundation. Our organisation was founded in 2013 under the name Amsterdam Marketing. This organisation was the result of a merger of Amsterdam Uitburo, Amsterdam Partners, and Amsterdam Tourism & Congress Bureau. In March 2019, we continued under the name amsterdam&partners. We focus on the key target groups of residents, businesses (including conventions, talent, and scale ups) and business and leisure visitors.
Our mission is to contribute to the quality of life, attractiveness and prosperity of a sustainable and inclusive Amsterdam Metropolitan Area by building a better reputation while guiding residents, businesses and visitors.
How does amsterdam&partners seek to enhance Amsterdam’s reputation?
(GU): Our approach consists of storytelling based on insights. We hope to inspire, inform and activate our target groups by telling the right story, through the right channel, to the right person at the right time. We connect partners from the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and share knowledge locally, nationally and internationally.
We also use different platforms for different target audiences, through a combination of offline and online links. You can find us online through our website www.iamsterdam.com or on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn. We also have an I Amsterdam City Guide and Amsterdam Area Guide, both are printed magazines that steer residents, business and visitors through Amsterdam and its Metropolitan Area.
Why, in your opinion, should someone visit Amsterdam?
GU: Amsterdam is a very diverse city; it has an open mind and free spirit. You can be who you want to be and love who you want to love as long as you respect each other – this creates a unique atmosphere in the city. It has a rich history and is a front runner in many innovations. It has a well-known city centre and interesting neighbourhoods, and let’s not forget the Metropolitan Area!
The Metropolitan Area is of very high quality and has a diverse selection of culture to explore. In Amsterdam you can find renowned museums, and world class stage performances, from classic to very modern, well-known to up and coming, during the day and through the night. We also have great culinary offerings!
What kind of travellers does the city appeal to the most?
(GU): Most of the visitors love to explore and discover new things – culture lovers, free thinkers, people that love to be inspired and broaden their perspective.
Unfortunately, we also attract a specific audience who come specifically for the stag parties. They harm the liveability of the residents, so visitors who only come to get drunk cause a nuisance and treat the city and its inhabitants disrespectfully. In a friendly way, we ask them to stay away.
What does Amsterdam have to offer in terms of sustainable or eco-friendly experiences? Do you have any goals in place with regard to this?
(GU): Amsterdam has always been a city of creativity and innovation with a spirit of commerce, which helps us to transform to a more social and ecological sustainable Metropolitan Area for residents and visitors.
We want to achieve a fast transformation to sustainable mobility, and support travelling by train over plane wherever possible.
All taxis and canal boats in the city centre must be electric by 2025, and of course, we are the number one city of bicycles. A number of hotels have an active policy on sustainability, reducing waste and saving energy, therefore, the social impact on their neighbourhoods is growing very fast. They know this is the future of our city.
Lastly, we have a fast-growing number of restaurants that serve more local and biological food, offering vast amounts of vegetarian and vegan options.
What trends are currently transforming tourism in Amsterdam? Do you have any predictions for 2023?
(GU): We are developing many neighbourhoods in order to increase the quality of life and also the quality of visits at the same time.
There is a huge transformation plan for the old city centre to make it more liveable and less attractive for audiences that bring nuisance to our city. We are investing in more culture in lesser-known areas, and better connectivity, again, for residents, businesses and visitors alike.
Are you optimistic about the future of the tourism industry in Amsterdam, particularly with regards to bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic?
(GU): We are optimistic if the industry quickly changes into a more social, ecological and economic sustainable place. We bounced back from the pandemic but would love to welcome more culturally orientated visitors – the kind of tourists who are curious to go off the beaten track and discover new experiences, neighbourhoods and the Metropolitan Area.
In addition, we welcome more repeat visitors and would like less visitors that use our city only as a backdrop for their party.