Amsterdam symbols: Amsterdam xxx meaning

When you arrive in Amsterdam and take a walk through the city streets, there is something you will definitely notice. A sign that means nothing to you, but so much for the Amsterdammers. The triple X or XXX is one of the most notable Amsterdam symbols. Those three Xs are spread everywhere in the city. They are included in the Amsterdam’s coat of arms, on flags, engraved on street lantern and pillars, even painted on those sweet little wooden shoes in the gift shops. But what’s the Amsterdam xxx meaning?

 

amsterdam xxx

 

Amsterdam xxx meaning – one of the Amsterdam symbols

Every tourist visiting Amsterdam wonders what exactly the XXX mean. We can’t blame them. The Amsterdam XXX can be spotted everywhere after all.

The first association that comes to people’s mind is related to, you know, that district of Amsterdam where women perform the world’s oldest profession. The abundance of erotic shops also builds the impression that the XXXs are related to that certain area.

 

To all of you that think so, I have to disappoint you.

 

Well, there are several theories that explain what’s the Amsterdam xxx meaning.

The most popular of them said that the Xs represent the cross on which St. Andrew has been crucified. The coincidence is that he was a fisherman, and at a time when Amsterdam got its emblem, the town was a fishing village.

Another famous theory about Amsterdam xxx meaning is that the Xs symbolize the major disasters that befell Amsterdam: the floods, the Great Fire (1452) when three-quarters of the city was destroyed and the Black Death (1663-1666) when the plague epidemics reached Amsterdam and more than 10% of the population of the city died.

 

xxx amsterdam

 

According to other sources, it is possible that the Xs come from the coat of arms of the Persijn family, ever since Amsterdam (Amstelledamme) was in their possession.

As mentioned above, while many people associate the Xs with the popular Red Light District and the liberal attitude towards prostitution, others say they represent the words courage, mercy and faithfulness.

Perhaps the most unusual explanation I’ve ever heard is that the Xs actually represent the three kisses Dutch exchange when they meet.

 

Amsterdam coat of arms – the official symbol of Amsterdam

The Amsterdam coat of arms consists of a radiant red shield and black vertical stripe with three Xs as known as St Andrew’s crosses. You can also spot two golden lions and the Imperial Crown of Austria. The triple X have nothing in common with the Red Light District as people commonly presume.

 

St Andrew’s crosses

So some people might be a little bit disappointed by the fact that we are talking about Amsterdam and mentioning crosses at the same post. In general, the St Andrews crosses can be spotted on other flags as well. For example, take a closer look at Scotland’s flag or Great Britain’s one. I guess it rings a bell.

 

The Amsterdammertje

The most common place you see the Amsterdam XXX is on the steel traffic bollards spread all over the city. They are so adorable that people gave them a name – an Amsterdammertje. Translated from Dutch Amsterdammertje means “the little one from Amsterdam”. Cute, right?

 

Amsterdam symbols

 

Moreover, the Amsterdammertje is one of the most prominent symbols of Amsterdam. Since they are so popular, people often take pictures of/with them. Also, there is no better souvenir than an Amsterdammertje keychain.

We’d never understand for sure where these characters come from and what’s the Amsterdam XXX meaning, but the fact is that they are the most notable Amsterdam symbols. The best part is that everyone can interpret them as they wish.

Have fun spotting the Amsterdam XXX while you exploring the city.

What do you know about the triple X? Have you ever heard some stories about them?

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Eve

Eve

Blogger and passionate traveler. Expat recently relocated to Barcelona. Digital nomad wandering around Europe and beyond. Loves to see new places, experience different cultures and try new things.

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