Amsterdam Museum

Striking but unknown: the coat of arms of Amsterdam

But nothing could be further from the truth, the Amsterdam city coat of arms with its recognizable red and black stripes on which three white crosses are placed one above the other, was conceived hundreds of years ago. In fact, it is so old that it is no longer even known what it represents. The crosses are said to come from Saint Andrew, one of the patron saints of the city. Others point out that the logo is a copy of the coat of arms of the wealthy Persijn family who lived in the area when Amsterdam was founded. And still others say it was mainly intended as a trick to find the way ; the black central strip represents the water in and around the city, they say, and the crosses symbolize the number of bridges and locks that you had to pass from the sea to get to the centre of the city. There is something to be said for the latter theory; other towns nearby have similar town coats of arms with two, three, five or even seven crosses. Can you help solve this mystery surrounding the logo that looks so new but is shrouded in mystery at the same time?

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