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Amsterdam insignia - The Red Light District Amsterdam Guide - discover the secrets!
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Amsterdam insignia

Date: 13. jul 2018.

The city of Amsterdam was formed during the 12th century and it has a rich history and many historical landmarks that you could visit during your Amsterdam tour. Being such an old city, it remained unknown why were the three X shaped crosses, the Saint Andrew crosses (saltires) chosen in the middle aged as the symbol of the city of Amsterdam.

The coat of arms of Amsterdam is the official symbol of the city. It consists of a red shield and a black pale with three silver St. Andrew’s crosses, the Imperial crown of Austria, two golden lions and the motto of Amsterdam. Several heraldic elements have their basis in the history of Amsterdam. The crosses and the crown can be found as decorations on different locations in the city.

In the coat of arms of Amsterdam, the field of the heraldic shield is red. The field is charged with three vertically ordered silver or white St. Andrew’s Crosses on a top of a black pale. The field and the pale result in three vertical bands in he colors red and black. It was believed that the three saltires represent the three dangers of ancient Amsterdam: fire, floods and the Black Death, but this theory has no historical basis. The black stripe in the middle of the shield represents the Amstel River. Red stripes on the side are belonging to the Persijn family coat of arms, which owned the area in the 13 th century according to the historians. Until today, the red color remains one of the favorite colors of the Dutch people along with the orange color which is the symbol of patriotism and the dark green called the Amsterdam green which is the color of Royal Family and widely used in Dutch architecture.

Three X-shaped crosses are the symbol of Amsterdam since the first half of the15th century. Saint Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross. The legend says that the Christian martyr demanded that the cross should be in some way lesser than that of a Jesus, before his crucifixion. St. Andrew’s cross appears on many West European coats of arms of the middle ages.

The Imperial Crown of Austria above the shield was added in 1489 by Emperor Maximilian I Habsburg of Austria as a sign of gratitude for a huge loan he received from the city of Amsterdam. The same crown adorns the tower of Westekerk since 1638. One of the oldest canals in the center of Amsterdam was named Keizersgracht which means the Imperial canal and it was named after Maximilian I.

The two golden lions standing on a stone pedestal holding the shield of Amsterdam were added in the 16th century.

The motto was added after the World War II and it is devoted to the heroism of people of Amsterdam. The strike in Amsterdam in February 1941 was the fist non-Jewish people protest against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands wanted to remember the role of the citizens of Amsterdam during the World War II and had created the motto which was added to the coat of arms consisting of 3 Dutch words meaning: “Heroic, Determined, Compassionate”

The Amsterdam coat of arms is a legally registered sign and is in public domain therefore it may be freely reproduced in all the media but it is restricted to use it with intention to suggest any kind of official endorsement.