The iconic ‘I Amsterdam’ sign has been removed amid safety concerns for visitors in the area.
Whether you’ve taken a picture with it yourself or simply seen it on social media, I think we’re all familiar with the red and white ‘I Amsterdam’ sign which is a must-see for tourists.
The sign was erected in Museum Square in front of the Rijksmuseum 14 years ago and has since become a hive of activity, with people climbing on the sign and flooding the area to get their selfie.
I mean, if you don’t have a picture with the Amsterdam sign, have you even been to Amsterdam?
Well now I guess no one will have really been to Amsterdam, because the sign has been dismantled and taken away for good.
Members of the city council had a few reasons for getting rid of the sign, coming to the conclusion the sign ‘opposed progressive values’ and ‘rejected community spirit’.
Though the sign seems to me to encourage inclusion as being part of Amsterdam, it could be considered exclusive to the rest of the Netherlands or perhaps to those not native to the city.
Dutch city councillor Femke Roosma, who is a member of GroenLinks (the Green Left), was behind the motion which led to the removal of the sign.
She explained the council hoped to replace the inclusive message with something more diverse, saying:
The message of ‘I Amsterdam’ is that we are all individuals in the city. We want to show something different: diversity, tolerance, solidarity.
Amsterdam alderman for economic affairs Udo Kock, who is a member of the left-liberal party D66, added he had been thinking about getting rid of the iconic sign for some time due to the negative impacts of the tourism it encouraged.
With countless people flooding to see the sign – a number which has no doubt increased with the rise of social media – overcrowding in the area is a safety concern.
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Autobahn Day 5: Time to go back to Autobahn and drive to #Nurburgring because the sun shines on the #Autobahn again and rain coming to Amsterdam. I made sure everyone who is not driving gets a colkies/brownies for lunch as we are leaving #Amsterdam, so they can scream the whole way to #Nurburgring that we are going too fast on Autobahn. Overall pretty calm day due to traffic on A3 and we could only go up to 200km/h but not much faster for extended period of times. Ended up checking in around the corner from Nurburgring so we can check in at the track in the morning. #M5 #BMW #BMWM5 #M5E39 #M6 #GPower #Dinan
I gladly want to remove them because these letters in Museum Square have become a symbol for mass tourism and the negative effects of it.
Former Amsterdam alderman Frits Huffnagel, the man who was behind putting the sign up in the first place, disagrees with the council’s decision to get rid of it.
The Greens don’t understand a thing about the campaign. 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.
The I Amsterdam Instagram page shared the news, and while the sign will no longer take pride of place in Museum Square, the caption assured people the letters will be cropping up again at various festivals and events across the city.
The I Amsterdam letters are on the move! They’ve been removed from Museumplein at the request of the City of Amsterdam, but you can still find them at Schiphol as well as at festivals and events across the Amsterdam Area.
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The I amsterdam letters are on the move! They’ve been removed from Museumplein at the request of the City of Amsterdam, but you can still find them at Schiphol as well as at festivals and events across the Amsterdam Area. Photo by @seeityourselfnl . . . #iamsterdam #amsterdam #letters
Hopefully the council will find some new permanent way to represent their diversity, tolerance, and solidarity message that doesn’t result in overcrowding from tourists – but which is preferably still photo-worthy.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.