Amsterdam Citydressing

Inauguration of King Willem-Alexander
citydressing Amsterdam Inauguration Willem-Alexander

With the festive inauguration of King Willem Alexander the city says hello to the world.

On 30 April 2013, Willem-Alexander was inaugurated as the new king of the Netherlands. A king, for the first time in 122 years – that was to be celebrated!

Amsterdam presented its calling card to 1100 journalists and newspapers, TV stations, press agencies and camera crews from 50 countries. It consisted of 1100 flags and banners, more than 500 bus shelters and illuminated advertising hoardings, 30 ‘dressed’ buildings, 140,000 paper crowns distributed to the masses, and animations shown at various venues.

Two months before the inauguration, the City of Amsterdam invited Total Design to participate in the pitch. We were given one week to prepare. The brief for the design was simple: create a design that is both festive and regal. Most important condition: there was to be no crown in the design, because it was not officially a coronation. And there could also be no images of the new king, and no text...

In short: do something with red, white and blue around Dam Square, where the official part of the ceremony would take place, and something with orange and ‘I Amsterdam’ in the rest of the city, where it was simply the annual Queen’s Day festival.

We went in search of a symbol that we could use. To us, the colours weren’t enough on their own. That’s how we arrived at Willem-Alexander’s existing monogram. He had commissioned that design himself, and we had no idea if we would even be able to use it, let alone alter it.

We just did it. It was a tremendous risk, so we were very relieved when we heard that we’d won. The rest of the design speaks for itself.

“I can’t imagine it could have been something else” Journalist – Inauguration King Willem-Alexander

"It was fantastic that, on inauguration day, we got a telephone call from “the family” to tell us that they all thought the design was very beautiful"

Hugo van den Bos, strategy director Total Design