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Amplified music taboo on Amsterdam’s canals

DutchAmsterdam.nl — Starting in the summer of 2012 boats sailing through Amsterdam’s downtown canals may no longer carry amplified music.

The measure has been adopted by the city’s Centrum borough in an effort to curtail noise nuisance.

Whenever the weather permits countless boats, sloops, dinghies, water bikes and oversized wooden shoes sail through the canals.

Corner of Prinsengracht and Leliegracht

Most of the sailors are well-behaved, but many are needlessly noisy — apparently believing that everyone else shares their taste in music or is amused by their banter.

Screaming and shouting is already prohibited, as is sailing a boat while under the influence of alcohol. But plenty of beer and wine is consumed by passengers, which particularly in the case of young men tends to encourage rowdy behavior.

The borough is serious about noise reduction. Residents of house boats and homes along the canals indicate that noise nuisance is their number one cause of irritation.

District mayor Jeanine Pinxteren says, “We have been more and more rigorous in our attempts to enforce the rules, but the situation has only got worse.”

In 2008 the Centrum borough received 510 complaints about noise — most of them involving boats. In 2010 that number increased to 928.

Violaters of the new no-amplied music rule will be fined.

Apparently the amplied music rule will not apply to Reinier Sijpkens — a musician who enjoys performing for people on the bridges and the waterside:

Reinier Sijpkens in one of his self-designed music boats

One-way traffic on Prinsengracht

The Centrum borough also wants to institute one-way traffic for boats on the Prinsengracht canal in an effort to reduce unsafe situations.

The borough has the authority to enforce the music measure, but would need the permission of the municipality of Amsterdam to enforce rules affecting traffic on the waterways.

Operators of the popular canal tour boats oppose the proposal, saying they foresee traffic jams.

Watermanagement company Waternet is also opposed, as it will lead to more work for their already overtaxed enforcement officers.

Anyway, soon you’ll only see and hear things this on YouTube:

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An Amsterdammer last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)

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