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Amsterdam mayor demands activists stop using Ai!Amsterdam name and logo

Amsterdam, Aug. 7, 2009 [DutchAmsterdam.nl] — Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen is demanding that a local protest group stops using a name and logo similar to that of the city’s marketing campaign.

The pressure group, Ai!Amsterdam, was formed to protest an ever growing set of rules and regulations governing what can and can not be done in the city. The group’s name and logo are a take-off on the city’s marketing term, Iamsterdam.

Ai! Amsterdam
The action group’s name and logo are very similar to those used in Amsterdam’s marketing campaign.
© Ai!Amsterdam

The Dutch expression ai! (pronounced as in Thailand) is derived from the Yiddish Oy vey! — an exclamation of dismay or exasperation.

The group’s first protests targeted a by-law that made it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages while standing at a café’s outdoor terrace.

At a meeting with the group last Thursday mayor Cohen agreed to tolerate the practice — as long as the drinkers don’t cross the terrace boundaries, and do not create a nuisance.

The city may soon take steps to strike the regulation from its by-laws.

The I amsterdam logo in front of Rijksmuseum.
© · Photo by Matt Rubens

However, at the meeting the mayor also told the group it must change its name and logo.

According to Cohen the activists damage the city’s image as well as its marketing campaign.

Activist Rogier van Kralingen tells local newspaper Het Parool, “Cohen accuses us of damaging the city by using the name Ai!Amsterdam. Nonsense! It is the municipality that damages the city’s image with its nonsensical rules.”

The activists behind Ai!Amsterdam have stated they do not intend to give in to Cohen’s demand.


The mayor and Center borough chairwoman Els Iping say there has been an increase in complaints about nuiseance since the beginning of the smoking ban in July last year.

As café visitors pop outside for a quick smoke, neighbors often file complaints about excessive noise.

At the mayor’s request, Ai!Amsterdam’s activists will soon meet with some café neighbors. The group has also accepted an invitation by Cohen and Iping to discuss by-laws for local horeca businesses.

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Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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