Tourists can 'marry' a Dutch local in new tourism initiative

The "wedding" is part of a new tourism initiative designed to smooth relations between locals and visitors

Cathy Adams
Friday 31 May 2019 14:33
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Tourists can 'marry' a Dutch local in new tourism initiative

Amsterdam tourists can marry a local for a day, go on a date while weeding or pluck and eat a city pigeon in a new initiative designed to combat the negative effects of overtourism.

Visitor numbers to Amsterdam are predicted to jump to almost 29 million over the next decade, from 19 million currently.

Just one million people live in the Dutch capital, which announced earlier in May that it would stop actively promoting tourism as it buckles under the weight of its visitors.

An initiative called Untourist Amsterdam has been set up as a way to give growing numbers of visitors a way to contribute positively to the city.

The group runs a number of activities, co-founder Sabine Linz told The Independent, to turn consumers into “changemakers” for Amsterdam.

One of those activities is “Marry An Amsterdammer”, where a local and a visitor are matched up for a wedding ceremony, complete with rings, vows and proper attire. The ceremony takes around 35 minutes, said Linz, and the "honeymoon" is spent exploring lesser-known spots in the city.

The marriage is is symbolic rather than legally binding. "It's a chance for a visitor to have a meaningful encounter with a local," Minsk told The Independent.

Other quirky activities include “weed dating”, where a visitor is matched with a local to know each other while pulling out weeds at an urban farm; walking a local elderly person around a park; or plucking and eating a city pigeon at a local artists' studio.

The movement launches next week, which is when the first "weddings" are slated to take place.

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