Tourists and locals in Amsterdam have been left shocked after the popular 'I amsterdam' sign was suddenly removed by authorities.
Visitors to Amsterdam frequently comment on the overwhelming array of activities and attractions in the colorful metropolis, whether they be the clubs and restaurants dotting the streets or the museums and art venues that vie for the same amount of tourist attention.
However, one thing they won't see anymore is the popular "I Amsterdam" sign that used to grace the front of the Rijksmuseum, a popular destination that was the source of some 6,000 selfies taken every day. Authorities hired a series of trucks to remove the sign on Monday, under a directive by the city council that the attraction was far "too individualistic" to be part of Amsterdam's civic culture.
"The message of 'I Amsterdam' is that we are all individuals in the city," said councilor Femke Roosma. "We want to show something different: diversity, tolerance, solidarity."
Roosma added the removal of the three-dimensional attraction served another purpose more associated with civic empowerment. The city council majority also felt that the sign symbolized a tourist frenzy that had little to do with the intrinsic culture of Amsterdam, especially when a desire for folks to photograph themselves by the icon seemed to be a priority over checking out the sights elsewhere in the city. And that the sign was contributing to overcrowding in the adjacent square tipped the scales in favor of scrapping it.
"This slogan reduces the city to a background in a marketing story," said Roosma. Amsterdammers want to regain their grip on the city."
Not surprisingly, Roosma was one of the politicians in favor of junking the sign, which also likely went against the values of the GroenLinks, a leftist political party of which the councilor is a member. But there's a plethora of tourists who aren't taking the removal very well at all, now that they're deprived of one less spot to point, click, and post on social media.
Some of them have been outraged enough to share their grievances via the hashtag #IAmsterdam and show pictures of previous visits they made to the tourist attraction. Others tried to find some humor over the debacle by creating their own sign, that simply read "HUH" as a way to express their own bewilderment over the city council decision.
Additionally, some 66 percent of respondents to a poll concerning the issue were against the sign's removal. And although the sign that was first put up in 2004 is gone from that part of town, they will make the occasional appearance in the future at special occasions in various places in the city.
And despite the controversy over the message, "I Amsterdam" is still the city's slogan.