After serving as a tourist hotspot for well over a decade, the “I amsterdam” letters were removed from the Museumplein by the municipality of Amsterdam on December 3, 2018. The lettering was introduced in 2004 as a part of the “I amsterdam” city marketing campaign (see 2012 brand manual here) by KesselsKramer:
Most city campaigns draw attention to buildings, history, or other cultural highlights. The city of Amsterdam, however, wanted a different approach. ‘I Amsterdam’ was the result: a city identity campaign that celebrated Amsterdam’s citizens in all their diversity. The campaign included a gigantic three-dimensional version of the logo on the renowned Museumplein. Here, it’s become another Amsterdam monument, with visitors photographing themselves with the letters.
“An Amsterdam monument” is one way of naming this successful piece of branding. But to Amsterdam inhabitants it became a symbol of the mass tourism that made them feel as if they were living and working in an attraction park; a symbol of the darker side of individualism. As a symbolic act of trying to reverse this development, the city of Amsterdam decided to remove the lettering from the museum square. The logo will now be taken on a tour a tour around the city — as was the original plan back in 2004.
The logo is typeset in Adrian Frutiger’s Avenir, Amsterdam’s corporate typeface since it was introduced by thonik in 2001. An update of the city’s corporate design by thonik and Edenspiekermann in 2013 caused quite some stir over the price of design (applications).