AMSTERDAM – As the city of Amsterdam bid farewell on Monday to the iconic “I AMsterdam” sign which had taken pride of place in the Museumpleain outside the Rijksmuseum museum since 2004, tourists and locals wasted no time in interacting with the new sculpture that replaced the old lettering.
The “I AMsterdam” sign was taken down after the GroenLinks party, (Green Party) filed a motion, later approved by the city council, to have it removed on the grounds the slogan promoted individualism and mass tourism, which continues to grow year on year and is becoming an issue for the Dutch city.
The leader of the GroenLink party in Amsterdam, Femke Roosma, explained to local media that while there were indeed tourism-related issues to grapple with, the real reason for removing the letters was “about the soul of Amsterdam.”
A tourist information site confirmed the letters would not disappear forever: “The I AMsterdam letters are on the move! They’ve been removed from Museumplein at the request of the government of Amsterdam, but you can still find them at Schiphol, as well as at festivals and events across the Amsterdam Area,” a statement on Twitter read.
No sooner had they been removed, a new set of letters appeared in front of the museum reading “HUH” by the Dutch designer Pauline Wiersema, who creates lighthearted pieces by using popular images, in this case, an expression, to ignite conversation and interaction with the artwork.