Ai! Amsterdam Wants To Break Free!

This blog’s aim is to report about the flexible city. This is not only about moving physical shapes and patterns, but also about the institutional context. On this blog we’ve frequently shared our critical remarks about the current patronising policy in Amsterdam. These days the frustration that we and a lot of people carry with us, seems to reach its boiling point. Therefore I like to reflect on the situation and ofcourse show our sympathy with the initiative of the local action group Ai Amsterdam!.

Amsterdam has been a free, liberal and tolerant city for decades and has become famous for that. But all of that seems to be gone these days. Local (and state) government come up with more and more tiny little rules that have no real significance, but are made to settle things down in Amsterdam. The way great young people live their life in the city has become too much for the older generation.According to the city council, Amsterdam should be a trendy business centre, visited by affluent diamond selling cruise customers. No little chaos, no sex and no fun anymore… just serious ‘creative’ business. A new public face for the city centre comes with this plans, art-directed by Mr. Boring himself, the the alderman of finance. Altogether, this vision is great for the diamond sellers and pickpockets but not for people who came to live in Amsterdam because of its liberal and tolerant promise. Suddenly it has come to a point of public opposition, to a widespread feeling that this could be the final moment to preserve the real Amsterdam for its inhabitants and for the world. Amsterdam wants to break free!

Within 48 hours, over people have joined the group Ai Amsterdam! online, and 8.000 people showed up at a spontanious protest action yesterday night at the Noordermarkt, where the ‘biggest standing terrace’ was organized. Not only to speak up against the recent ‘thou shall not stand while drinking’ rule, but to the broad idea of living in a police and control state. The name of the viral action network (Ai Amsterdam!) is a critical remark on the cities offical slogan ‘I Amsterdam’. The real creative class opposes openly against the city’s marketing campaign in which paradoxally the ‘creatives’ are the most important target. This is an obvious sign of policy failure. As long as the people that you want to connect with don’t like you, you’ve got a serious problem. Amsterdam has come to that point. Time to open eyes and to take the city back! Support Ai Amsterdam! here!

—Photo: Mathys