More high street stores are being left empty in biggest Dutch cities

Empty shops in Amsterdam’s Kalverstraat. Photo:

Officials in the biggest Dutch cities are concerned about the sharp increase in the number of vacant shops and are warning that shopping streets may become increasingly dilapidated, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

Last week, Utrecht’s economic affairs chief Klaas Verschuure wrote to MPs on behalf of the six biggest cities calling for action, the FD, which has seen the letter, said.

‘We see enormous sales losses, vacancies in some streets going up to 40% and a big drop in tourist numbers,’ he wrote. ‘That is leading to pockets of empty shops, opening the door to degradation and criminal activity in the short to mid term.’

Vacancy rates have risen sharply in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Eindhoven, according to figures from research group Locatus.

In Amsterdam, the vacancy rate has more than doubled to 4.8% and although this is less than the national average of 7.5%, more shops are being left empty than are being opened. In the city centre Kalverstraat, 6% of the retail space is now vacant.

Some landlords have cut rents in an effort to boost the number of new contracts. Colliers estimates that the price on the best locations in Amsterdam has gone down from €2,700 to €2,250 per square metre per year. In Utrecht, city centre rents have plummeted 40% within a year, the FD said.

The number of shops in the Netherlands has been declining steadily for years.

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