A xxx story

Holland, and especially Amsterdam, offers more visual elements than the color orange, tulips, or a red light district. All around Amsterdam you'll see three Xs, usually in a neat little column, like someone just won a round of tic-tac-toe. They've been part of the city's official coat of arms since 1505.

Plenty of cities have official emblems, but we saw the Amsterdam xxx EVERYWHERE. It was on parking pylons, on sewer covers, tucked above doorways and monogrammed into fences. Design enthusiasts love Amsterdam for this reason. The city is well designed. Every detail is well integrated throughout the city.

1.jpg
2.jpg

They're Saint Andrew's Crosses. You know, the same kind of cross that's on the Scottish and Jamaican flags. But why does Amsterdam get three?

Apparently no one really knows. There's a few theories, including one where each x represents one of the three main disasters Amsterdam survived: floods, fire, and The Plague. Another one suggests the three crosses represent three sails of a windmill.

Using the coat of arms is heavily restricted, since it still carries with it the authority of the municipal government. Apparently you can only use the coat of arms with express permission from the government. That’s why you won’t see us using it in the video we shot in Amsterdam, even though we love it!

5.jpg