The big trick is to get your trademark well-known, famous even. This takes a lot of marketing effort, but who doesn’t want to be up there with Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola? Well, the city of Amsterdam doesn’t; it is removing a landmark object, because it is too famous.
For nearly fifteen years, it has been a defining element of the city marketing of the municipality of Amsterdam: the giant letters ‘I amsterdam’, located in front of the Rijksmuseum. The letters are a popular ‘selfie spot’ for the many tourists that visit the Dutch capital, and have been imitated by cities all over the world.
Now Amsterdam wants to get rid of it. A city council member filed a motion calling on the council to remove the letters and stop the promotion of Amsterdam abroad altogether. She has received support from a majority in the council.
‘I amsterdam’ has become a symbol for the growing flow of tourists that have put the capital under enormous pressure. In 2017 21 million people visited Amsterdam, in 2025 there will be at least an estimated 23 million visitors annually.
Amsterdam is looking for new measures to limit the flow of visitors: an increase of tourist tax, banning cruise ships from the city and even a total ban on holiday rentals via Airbnb in some neighborhoods. Banning the letters is merely symbolic, but still.