Last Thursday, Amsterdam councillors voted to remove the Iamsterdam letters from Museumplein as part of the budget plan for 2019. The sign will be removed in the next couple of weeks.
“We are only removing the set on the Museumplein [sic]” said Janine Fluyt, Amsterdam Marketing spokesperson responsible for the I amsterdam brandmanagement. Nothing will be added to replace the void in Museumplein.
“The set at Schiphol (Airport) will remain [and] also the one along the Sloterplas,” added Fluyt. The letters were spread around Sloterplas’ free running parkour in 2016 to present Amsterdam as a modern city. Another 23.5-meters-tall set of letters moves around the city and is dressed for specific events. It is currently located at the Student Hotel Amsterdam West and will remain there until December 12.
The sign, erected in 2004 as an effort to attract more tourists, has ever since become a symbol for the city. Above 17 million people visit the city every year. Left-wing party GroenLinks, the largest city council, was the first one to propose its removal since the mayor Femke Halsema took Amsterdam’s leadership.
Back in June, Halsema became the first female mayor in Amsterdam and the first green mayor in Europe. Amongst the changes Halsema brung with her is the decision take a break at the Red Light District in busy nights to have a complete clean-up and enforced tour guides giving tours to five or more people to have permit.
Femke Roosma, GroenLinks’ leader on the city council, told Het Parool that the letters would “[reduce] the city to a background in a marketing story.” For Roosma, the removal of the sign is a step towards hindering the exponential growth of tourism in Amsterdam. Additionally, the Iamsterdam letters would represent individualism for GroenLinks’ leader, the opposite of what Amsterdam should aim for: solidarity and diversity. “The letters at Museumplein have become there, in this busy location, a symbol of mass tourism,” explains Marten Grupstra, press officer at the Municipality of Amsterdam. “For that reason they will be removed from this specific location.”
However, the removal of the letters do not come together with the removal of the capital city’s slogan and logo. “The city of Amsterdam will present itself under the flag of the motto I amsterdam” confirmed Fluyt.
Before the decision to remove the sign was made by the councillors, a survey by Maurice de Hond estimated that 66% of Amsterdam citizens would have thought that removing the sign would be a bad idea. Additionally, about 11,000 signed a petition to keep the letters, with no apparent success.