Iconic “IAMSTERDAM” Sign Removed, No more Selfies

If you have been following my journeys, you may remember these two photos…

I trust many of you are familiar with the giant red and white, block letter “IAMSTERDAM” sign outside the Rijksmuseum. It has been outside the museum for nearly 14 years and is, arguably, the most popular selfie location in Amsterdam.

I was well aware the signs popularity prior to arriving in the city. On the first morning, I struck out on my own to get a few pictures before the city awoke while my family chose to get a little extra rest. As you can see, I was able to take a picture without any tourists in my photo while two hours later my family was not as fortunate.

With a plethora of affordable fares on low-cost airlines, cannabis coffee shops, bicycle-friendly streets, and reputation for great night life and festivals, Amsterdam is an appealing location for many people. However, it seems the popularity has taken a toll and government officials want to decrease the mass tourism.

At the end of 2017, Amsterdam banned “beer bikes” amid complaints about rowdy tourists being drunk and disorderly.

In January 2018, roughly two months later, Amsterdam began limiting AirBnB hosts to 30 rentals per year.

Six months later, government officials enacted “immediate measures” to curb tourist behavior in the seedy red-light district including monitoring the number of visitors, deploying “hosts” to disperse crowds to less busy areas, and giving authorities the ability to issue and collect fines on the spot for public consumption of alcohol (95 Euros), public urination (140 Euros), and littering (140 Euros).


And now the city has determined that wasn’t enough.

This past week, the city accused the sign of promoting mass tourism and determined that they should be removed….and they were. A crane was used to hoist the letters onto an 18-wheeler and driven off property.


Amsterdam isn’t the only city to implement tourist regulations recently:

  • Sontorini,  Greece – capped cruise ship visitors and changed working conditions for famed island donkeys including limiting the working hours and weight they are able to carry
  • Mallorca, Spain – they completely banned Airbnb rentals
  • Venice, Italy – Venice Mayor proposed “sitting ban” and fine individuals (up to $590) for taking a seat in any public space. This follows a sitting ban on the Rialto Bridge and at several local churches
  • Barcelona, Spain – implemented a “tourist tax” and limited the number of available hotel beds
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia – 2 cruise ship limit per day, cut down on souvenir stands and restaurant tables

Can a city be “overrun with tourists?” Have you ever had an experience where you felt overwhelmed by the number of tourists in a city? What are the best solutions to this challenge?

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