Success story



Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canto empowers amsterdam&partners to centralize and expand the city’s media library

If you’re familiar with the “I amsterdam” sign, you’ve been influenced by an amsterdam&partners campaign. As a nonprofit, amsterdam&partners is responsible for building the city’s brand. The organization’s activities make Amsterdam an even better place for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

Pauline Arkesteijn is the Web Editor for amsterdam&partners. She is responsible for the bulk of content creation – writing articles, shooting photography and producing videos. As part of the editorial team, Pauline is focused on crafting messages using copy and visuals. She makes sure that the branding is on point and shows the best of Amsterdam.

The goal

amsterdam&partners wanted to showcase their city but needed an intuitive system to organize and find their many photos and videos.

The result

Canto enables colleagues and partners to find the best visuals of Amsterdam which tell the city’s story to residents, businesses and visitors.

Goal: Bring order to an unmanageable media library

Amsterdam is the most popular place to live in the Netherlands, and is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. With just under 1 million residents and over 20 million tourists per year (pre-COVID), amsterdam&partners is busy creating content to show off what this charming city has to offer.

The editorial department always needs new, unique imagery and videos. From their jam-packed website to their social media channels, online content is highly valued for this active nonprofit.

“At the end of last year, amsterdam&partners decided that we wanted to create more photos and videos for our web presence. We really wanted to fill an image bank, so we are going to create more content by ourselves,” says Pauline.

In addition to external photographers, the amsterdam&partners team wanted to move part of the photography and videography in-house so they could produce even more content from within their editorial department.

“We were outsourcing way more of the content. We looked inside the company, and me and a few other colleagues were doing photography. So we thought, ‘why don’t we do it by ourselves?’ So our theme for this year is to create more content internally,” says Pauline.

Before using Canto, amsterdam&partners assets were stored in a basic, bare-bones system which resulted in lost content. Their system didn’t have the features they needed, like automatic smart tagging or a folder structure. The increase in content production meant an increase in barriers to store and share this content.

“With the other system we missed some important functionalities. For example, we didn’t have smart tags or a filter searching structure, and that’s what we needed. It was difficult to see who uploaded or shared something. We didn’t have an organized structure, and it didn’t have folders. The system was a big mess and nobody knew what was in it,” says Pauline.

Starting fresh with a digital asset management (DAM) system with the right functionalities was the best option for this quick-moving team.

“We wanted to start all over with new filters and new folders, and this wasn’t possible in the old system because we didn’t have smart tags or any structure. We needed a fresh new start,” says Pauline.

Enter Canto: A DAM with the right functionalities

The amsterdam&partners team made a DAM wishlist and Canto checked their boxes with an easy organizational structure, wide functionality range and straightforward user interface.

They now store photography, videos and magazine cover art in their Canto library. These assets are used in many ways, like populating the website, creating social media posts and adding visuals to email communication. Since the team needed to start fresh from their old system, Pauline built the DAM project from the ground up.

“We started with a strategy based on the wishes of different users from our internal departments, but also the municipality. We made a new plan and workflow, and also made a whole new plan for the filter structure. Now, everybody can make optimal use of Canto,” says Pauline.

Sharing content with journalists, partners and analysts

The editorial team created a self-service Portal for journalists so they could access approved assets whenever they needed them. Portals are totally customizable, so amsterdam&partners adjusted it to their brand guidelines and chose the specific photos that appear in it.

“We have the Portal to serve media to our journalists. These assets are all royalty free that they can use for articles. In the Portal, we can align everything with our logo and our style guides. It’s really nice to share this with our journalists – it looks amazing and we can easily share a wide range of content,” says Pauline.

Canto also empowers other teams within amsterdam&partners to share assets. The business department uses the Portal to share images and videos with meeting planners and local partners, like theaters and museums.

“Our business department works with our partners, and they can use the Portal too. We share the image bank with third parties and analysts as well. There are a lot of people who use it,” says Pauline.

Staff utilize My Collections to share a specific set of imagery from their main library that might not be available in the Portal. They can send assets internally and externally through share links and email collections in Canto.

“My colleagues make personal collections and can share specific assets from the main library with partners. My colleagues love this, it’s so nice,” says Pauline.

Easy uploading into Canto

A few members of the editorial team are responsible for ensuring the right assets are uploaded into Canto. Internal colleagues and external photographers use Upload Links to add content to a holding folder, then the small approval team reviews and moves the images into the main library.

“We made Upload Links for our colleagues and freelance photographers, so they upload the pictures with the link and then the admins will check the pictures in Canto,” says Pauline.

Digital rights management is important for amsterdam&partners to prevent photo misuse and uphold file security. When Pauline and her colleagues check the images uploaded into Canto, they make sure that usage rights are included.

“We never have the problem that something is in Canto without any rights. That’s why we have this approval workflow,” says Pauline.

We really want to help the city and help the partners to have a well-stocked image bank. With Canto, everybody can share our content more often with others.

Pauline ArkesteijnWeb Editor

Results: Showcasing Amsterdam with organized digital assets

The main goal for amsterdam&partners is to showcase Amsterdam as a great place to live, work and visit. With their assets organized in Canto, photos and videos are always available and easily findable. This empowers not only amsterdam&partners to tell the city’s vibrant stories, but local partners as well.

“We really want to help the city and help the partners to have a well-stocked image bank,” says Pauline. “With Canto, everybody can share our content more often with others.”