Iconic Amsterdam landmark removed

The giant letters were removed from their place in front of the Rijksmuseum this week after they were deemed to be undermining "community spirit" for native Amsterdammers. Photo: Getty Images
The giant letters were removed from their place in front of the Rijksmuseum this week after they were deemed to be undermining "community spirit" for native Amsterdammers. Photo: Getty Images
The iconic sign that read "Iamsterdam" and stood in the Dutch capital for 14 years, is no more.

The giant letters were removed from their place in front of the Rijksmuseum this week after they were deemed to be undermining "community spirit" for native Amsterdammers.

Originally part of a marketing campaign for the city's tourism body, the two metre by 24 metre landmark was a popular backdrop for photographers. It appeared an impressive 1,350,156 posts on the social media platform Instagram.

But that was until Monday when, under orders by the city council, a crane team dismantled the letters and loaded them onto trucks.

The reasons for removing the letters seem to be ostensibly political. City council leaders deemed the sign to be "too individualistic" and in opposition to "progressive values."

Femke Roosma, a councillor for the city's biggest party - "Green Left" – said in a statement : "The message of "I Amsterdam" is that we are all individuals in the city. We want to show something different: diversity, tolerance, solidarity."

However the removal of the sculpture might be a sign of the increasing pressures of tourism felt by Amsterdam natives.

During the fourteen years the sign was in place annual tourism figures more than doubled from 4.2 million in 2004 to a projection of almost 9 million this year.

For some of the 741,000 natives it can feel as if their city has been hijacked by visitors.
But not all the Dutch residents are pleased to see the sign go.

Talking to the MailOnline Frits Huffnagel, who came up with the concept for the sign, explained he was shocked by the signs disappearance.

"The Greens don't understand a thing about the campaign," he said.

"I am part of Amsterdam. As a citizen, because I work there, or as a visitor. That together makes Amsterdam. That everyone wants to belong to it. It is connecting people, you gather people under that slogan."

Perhaps those who are most shocked to find the sign missing are tourists. The city council has had to hire "hosts" to explain the removal of the sign to bemused visitors looking for a holiday snap.

In the empty place previously occupied by the sign protesters have placed their own sign, expressing a mortified, orange "Huh?"

Comments

In all the Dutch-language news articles I've read about this, this is the first time I've seem someone claim that it's removed because it's "too individualistic and in opposition to progressive values".

I'm not sure where you got that from, I'm sure *someone*, *somewhere* said it, but most of the discussion about this in Amsterdam has focused on the tourism and aesthetics of the sign. It's right in the centre of the museumplein, which is already a very busy tourist hub and in front of some great historic buildings. Many consider this sign out of place there (rightfully so, in my view).

 

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