The year 2018 is almost ending. Finally I can muster the energy to write again. This month has been brutal in the heart of Amsterdam. Bad weather cannot stop the influx of people in a festive December. Of course festive is subjective if you choose to celebrate along with the masses.
This one is for that once popular sign near the Rijksmuseum. Do you remember those big letters that said “IAmsterdam”? They were a strange but comforting sight on Museumplein (or Museum square in English) and attracted people. These letters were a meeting place, a photographic sight and on sunny days almost every angle of this sign was covered by cameras.
Just after Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicolas in English) the Amsterdam city council decided to remove “IAmsterdam” for political reasons. Think of it like this, a bishop with a long beard and colourful helpers came along and brought gifts for the children. Then the new city council of Amsterdam decided to join in spreading the joy. They took away something that actually added something unique to Amsterdam.
The cited reason for removal of the “IAmsterdam” sign was that it was too individualistic. Read that word again, “individualistic.” Of course we citizens of Amsterdam had no say in this matter. The newly formed city council wanted to make a statement. This statement was received with a good dose of scepticism.
For what is it worth my disgust with this hypocrisy formed into a well of sarcasm. Amsterdam is a very individualistic city from its origins. Its wealth originates from the fact that the rulers of the city decided to be more tolerant to immigrants and and skilled workers in an age of religious wars in Europe (Inquisition, 30 Year War).
Amsterdam as we know it today is the result of individualistic views on life and opportunities. Build a city on a swamp below the sea, yeah you have to be optimistic and resourceful. Then some politicians decide something is too individualistic, oh really?
When politicians say something is too individualistic ask them this:
“How did you become powerful enough to decide for me? You an individual decide for me. How individualistic of you.”
Let them eat their words. Democracy or not, individualism is not something to sneer at…