“Why are there three Xs on Amsterdam’s flag?” And “What do they mean?” If you live in Amsterdam, like me, you’ve probably had visitors ask these questions multiple times.
You can’t blame them, the place does have a reputation.
Interestingly, the flag isn’t just a depiction of the triple-X entertainment that Amsterdam usually has to offer. Instead, it’s the official symbol of the Dutch capital.
What does the Amsterdam flag look like?
Just in case you’re not familiar with the flag, let’s have a look. It has three horizontal stripes — red, black, and red. The black one is slightly thinner, and it has three white Xs in it.
Why does Amsterdam’s flag have three crosses?
Depending on whether you have the maturity level of a teenager or not, I have some good news (or bad news): those Xs find their origins in Christianity.
That’s right, the XXX on Amsterdam’s flag is actually representative of St. Andrew’s three crosses, one of Jesus’ apostles, who was crucified on an X-shaped cross.
Yes, I was disappointed by that answer too.
St. Andrew also used to be a fisherman, that is, during the first century AD. But, it’s interesting to know that, back in 1505, when Amsterdam was a renowned fishing town, all the registered ships that sailed around Amsterdam had this flag hanging on from their boats. 🛶
Unlike what many people may think, it’s actually just a funny (or unfortunate) coincidence that the Amsterdam flag’s triple X symbol is the same as, well, adult entertainment. The flag’s symbols have nothing to do with sex.
Where do the three Xs on the Amsterdam flag come from?
As cool as the flag looks on its own, it doesn’t usually stand on its own. In reality, it’s borrowed from the city’s coat of arms, where the popular red flag rests as the centrepiece.
A common legend about the flag is that the three crosses represent fire, floods, and the black plague. Why? Those are precisely the problems that Amsterdammers had to deal with a little too often back in the day, unfortunately.
But, that theory isn’t true either. 🤷♀️
The meaning and symbolism of the coat of arms symbol are actually still unknown. 🤫
Why are there three crosses everywhere in Amsterdam?
Another thing any visitor to Amsterdam will notice is that the iconic XXX symbol is plastered across nearly every surface in Amsterdam.
Those crosses aren’t just on the flag. They’re carved into the bricks on buildings and sticking out of the little poles that keep cars off the sidewalk. They’re printed on bus stops, museum signs, and even on official letters.
And, they’re also in every single tourist shop, in the “things you don’t need” section (but will probably buy anyway). 🛍
READ MORE | Why Amsterdam is the capital and not The Hague
If you came to this article wanting some raunchy story on the Amsterdam flag to make your friends giggle, we’re sorry that we let you down.
But we hope you’re now a little more interested in the history of Amsterdam and why things are the way they are!
What do you think of Amsterdam’s flag? Tell us in the comments below!