Mayor Dirk Elbers said at a meeting with business, political, educational and cultural leaders that the city is "respected but not liked," so he commissioned an advertising agency to come up with a symbol and they brought him a red :D, The Local.de reported Wednesday.
"We are partly to blame for this ourselves, as we have over-emphasized performance at the expense of human, emotional aspects," Elbers said of the city's reputation.
Frank Lotze, head of the BBDO advertising agency, said the emoticon, being referred to as "the grinning D," sums up the feelings officials want people to have when they think of the city.
"We wanted an over-arching symbol which exudes the feeling of living in the city -- the grinning D is concise and appealing. And we decided on red and white as they are the colors of the city," Lotze said.