Amsterdam bullies critical group into dropping name and logo

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A group of Amsterdam citizens critical of the way the city is run has decided to change its name and logo under heavy pressure of the city government, Volkskrant reported last week (Dutch).

The group called Ai! Amsterdam (meaning Ouch! Amsterdam, a play on the official city marketing slogan of the city, I Amsterdam) has publicly criticized the city’s ban on drinking-while-standing, the gradual closing down of the Red Light district, and other less illuminated measures. The city has threatened with costly legal procedures if the group do not give up their name and logo, procedures which the group estimate would cost them tens of thousands of euro.

Ai! Amsterdam points out to De Pers (Dutch) that the city centre’s candidacy for becoming a UNESCO world heritage site (not just the canals, the entire city centre!) threatens the liveliness and openness of the city even further, creating a real risk of Amsterdam becoming just as staid as Bruges, Belgium, which is also a world heritage site. I think the group are underexaggerating things. At least Bruges started out boring. Amsterdam on the other hand has something to lose.

Ironically, the official I Amsterdam manifesto proclaims: “It’s time for Amsterdam to speak out for itself and make its relevance known in a proud, supportive and positive manner.”

(Illustration: the old Ai! Amsterdam logo, source: Ai!)

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