One of the most iconic tourist spots in Amsterdam has been removed after city officials said it was destroying “community spirit.”
The giant red-and-white letters that stood outside the Rijksmuseum and read “I Amsterdam” for 14 years will be moved to storage. Thousands of tourists from around the world have flocked to the site, which was adopted in 2004 for a marketing campaign, to take pictures to post on various social media platforms.
Those pictures are part of the reason why the city council ordered to take the sign down earlier this week. According to a report by the Daily Mail, city officials criticized the sign for contributing to mass tourism which leaders said was putting too much pressure on the city and its inhabitants.
City councilor Femke Roosma told reporters that in 2017, more than 20 million tourists visited Amsterdam. That number is expected to grow to 23 million by 2025. While Roosma doesn’t believe that getting rid of the sign will decrease the number of tourists to Amsterdam, she does believe it will send a clear statement.
“This slogan reduces the city to a background in a marketing story,” she told The Telegraph. “Amsterdammers want to regain their grip on the city.”
The sign was originally intended for a symbol of inclusion. “An introduction, a slogan, and a physical icon – I Amsterdam is the city’s and its residents’ collective catchphrase,” a statement on the website reads.
Roosma told the Daily Mail that “the message of ‘I Amsterdam’ is that we are all individuals in the city. We want to show something different: diversity, tolerance, solidarity.”
Those looking to take photos with the letters will still be able to find them. They can be found at Schiphol Airport upon your arrival and by Sloterplas Lake on the west side of town, according to the I Amsterdam website.
The I amsterdam letters are on the move! They’ve been removed from Museumplein at the request of @AmsterdamNL, but you can still find them @Schiphol, as well as at festivals and events across the #AmsterdamArea. Read more: https://t.co/ydjvheHCMd (📷 by https://t.co/nMKKQmlA0c) pic.twitter.com/4513ejipPP
— I amsterdam (@Iamsterdam) December 3, 2018