Lonely Planet Writer

This iconic Amsterdam photo op is no more

With its canal-lined streets and colourful buildings, Amsterdam is a city that begs to be photographed. But one of the most popular spots for tourists to stop and snag a photo is no longer there.

The I amsterdam sign at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Image by Chan Srithaweeporn/Getty Images

A large sign which spelled out the slogan ‘I amsterdam’, was located just outside the Rijksmuseum until earlier this week. The massive sign was hugely popular with the crowds of tourists that visit the city each year and have their photograph taken with the letters. While the letters had been there for about 14 years, according to the I amsterdam website, the letters “were removed at the request of the City of Amsterdam because they were drawing too big of a crowd to an already limited space.”

According to DutchNews.nl, the decision was made by the city’s green party GroenLinks, which hold the most seats on the city council. Councillors from the party reportedly said that it has become a symbol of mass tourism and went against the city’s community spirit and emphasis on solidarity over individualism.

https://twitter.com/Iamsterdam/status/1069544026574110721

It’s not the only way in which the city has grappled with its popularity among tourists. Amsterdam has recently been trying to create a more sustainable model, through efforts like increasing its tourist tax and bringing in new rules for Airbnb rentals.

The I amsterdam sign has been removed from the Rijksmuseum. Image by OLAF KRAAK / Getty Images

But, travellers who still want to snap that perfect picture with the sign aren’t totally out of luck – there are also I amsterdam letters at Schiphol Airport, Sloterplas Lake, and another set that will travel around the city and can be found at events around Amsterdam. Find out where they will be next here.

If you want to get away from the tourist centres and explore a lesser-seen side of the city, find out how to live like a local in Amsterdam.