Hello again! Today, I’d love to tell you more about my city. I hear you think, that’s what you usually do… Fair enough, but today I’d like to specifically focus on a few of the many symbols, codes and colours that have to do with Amsterdam, or ‘Mokum’ as some of the locals call my city. Cause when you’re wandering through Amsterdam, some things might reappear quite often. So, let me give you a little insight into what’s the story behind these things.
Amsterdam’s coat of arms
Let’s start with the famous ‘XXX’, a sight that reoccurs often throughout the city: on buildings, souvenirs, flags and so called “Amsterdammetjes” (poles that keep the cars from driving on the pavement). These XXX’s are part of the Amsterdam’s coat of arms. This has nothing to do with the Red-Light District, as some people might think. These three (white) crosses are actually three vertical St. Adrew’s Crosses. They are originally displayed on a red shield with in the middle a black stripe. On the bottom, there are three words written on a ribbon: heroic, determined and merciful.
Pictures by Wikipedia and Mandje Mokum
Officially, the XXX’s and the shield are accompanied with two golden lions and the Imperial Crown of Austria. There are multiple stories going around why there are specifically three crosses used. The story that most people believe is true, is that each of these crosses represent a challenge that Amsterdam faced back in the days: fire, water and the plague.
The national Dutch Flag and the colour Orange
As I told you earlier, the flags that you’ll find in Amsterdam are often with the iconic three crosses on it. But the Dutch national flag is a simpler horizontal tricolour design: red, white and blue. If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam on King’s day, or a soccer match when our national team (also referred to as ‘Oranje’) is playing, you might have wondered why everybody is wearing orange when the colour is not even in our national flag. This has to do with our Royal Family, as the lineage of the current family stem from the House of Oranje-Nassau, all the way back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange).
Pictures by Wikimedia and Sign+ Magazine
Who hasn’t seen the famous picture with the large Iamsterdam letters passing by? These Iamsterdam letters are considered to be the slogan to the city by many and an exteremely popular spot to give the camera it your all. These letters can be found at the Rijksmuseum, Schiphol Airport and the third set of letters changes location every now and then. Check their website to see where the third set is currently located.
Picture by SW-Retail
So, that’s it for today. Even though there’s so much more still to tell you, I’ll save that for another time.