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The Three Amsterdam Crosses
About the Coat of Arms The Amsterdam crest was presumably implemented around 1280 by the city of Amsterdam. Over the years it has been a little modified. But overall it still looks more or less the same as it did over seven centuries ago. The crest features a red shield with a black bar in the center with three white crosses on it. On each side you see two lions. And on top, there is a crown. The lions are our national animal (“Don't let the lion down!”), and in the crest, they stand for protecting the Amsterdam people. The crown does not symbolize the Netherlands as a monarchy. But it stands for the imperial protection Amsterdam received from Emperor Maximiliaan of Austria. This basically meant they have him a ton of money in exchange for his protection. The crown counted as a recommendation of some sort and was beneficial for Amsterdam’s trading position. It’s all pretty clear why the elements are here. Except for the crosses. There are many guesses of what the three crosses symbolize, but only one of them is true. The Family Persijn Many centuries ago, a lot of families had a “family crest”. It was a point of recognition for those with a higher social status. Every family had their own “design” and when two people from different families got married, the designs were combined. A few examples: Examples of crests from Dutch families and cities Jan Persijn is named as the founder of “the Dam”, which is short for Amsterdam. Moreover, other belongings of this family were Amstelveen and Ouder-Amstel and they have similar crosses in their crests. It would be plausible that the three crosses were a reference to the Persijn Family. Plausible, but that wasn’t it. Saint Andrew Perhaps Saint Andrew crosses (Andreaskruisen) had a more religious meaning. In this case, Andreas could have been a reference to the Apostle Andrew who was nailed to an angled cross. His legs and arms were nailed to the cross and he would have died worthy. The cross could therefore stand for determination, heroism and mercy. Where did we hear that before? However, the text “Heldhaftig – Vastberaden – Barmhartig” was not added until after WOII and it would not explain why there were three crosses. So, nope: Saint Andrew was not the connection to the Amsterdam Crosses. Saint Andrew was crucified on an angled cross The three plagues For a long time, people thought the three crosses on the crest resembled the three plagues that hit Amsterdam. Check here The red stands for fire, the white crosses for water and the black bar for the Black Plague. Seems plausible. On the other hand: why would you incorporate such a terrible thing in something you would be proud of? You might have guessed it, this wasn’t it either. Image source: TripSavvy Legal certainty The true meaning is often less thrilling than previous assumptions. Recent studies found out that the three Andrew’s crosses come from a historical North-Holland legal ritual. At the legal counsel, people drew three white crosses on a black chalkboard which were wiped afterward. The three crosses represent legal certainty and the black bar the court table. Book a Royal Experience So there we have it: the three white crosses symbolize the (old) Dutch Legal System, even though there are many other plausible origins. My personal favorite is another popular belief: the three X’s stand for the three kisses Amsterdam (and other Dutch) people exchange when they meet each other or say goodbye. Love to know more about Amsterdam, the City of Diamonds, and Amsterdam's (diamond) history? Book a Royal Experience. In this experience, you'll learn everything you ever wanted to know about our rich history and the history of our beautiful city.
Amsterdam Squares
The city squares symbolize the whole areas of the city with their activity and the character. Big and open Dam square with the Palace of the King and the best department store has a central role in town and belongs to Amsterdam attractions. Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are entertainment and tourism centers while the Museumplein name speaks for itself. Nieuwmarkt, Westermarkt and Noordermarkt are old markets, which found today a new function, each of them different. Even a small square called het Spui has its own special character, making it a real fun to visit. Dam square Dam square is the centre of Amsterdam, and a must see attraction when visiting Amsterdam, and very easy to reach because it is a 10 minute walk from central station. This historical site might not be the most impressive in all of Amsterdam, but definitely worth a visit. This site was for example, the reception area for Napoleon and his troops during the takeover of the city in 1808. At the foot of this square stands the Royal Palace, which was originally used as the town hall, and with its fine sculptures it was intended to glorify the city and its government. In contrast to its turbulent history, the square is now a peaceful place and is home to hundreds of pigeons and tourists resting their tired feet from walking among nearby Amsterdam attractions. Rembrandtplein Rembrandtplein is encircled with pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels and is a magnet for tourists coming to Amsterdam. Also hosting some of the most popular clubs in Amsterdam, this square comes even more alive at night-time, with clubs that play Dutch music where locals visit often. During the day the terraces are packed and the square on which the famous Rembrandt collection of statues stands is bustling. Leidseplein The Leidseplein or Leidse-square is one of the most popular centres for nightlife attractions in Amsterdam. With many restaurants, clubs, coffeeshops, cinemas and theatres in the area, the Leidseplein is vibrant and colourful. On warm summer evenings, tourists and locals alike take advantage of the pubs’ outdoor seating for a long, lazy drinks with friends. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters and other performers liven up the square, often till the early hours. Museum square Museum square is the cultured museum district in Amsterdam, the most famous Dutch museums located on this square. For example, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijkmuseum, the van Gogh museum, and the new Mocco museum which has new exhibitions every year, currently there is a Banksy/Warhol expostition. The Royal concert hall is also located at the foot of the square, and last but not least the diamond museum and Coster Diamonds are established here. In the middle of the square there is a little park where both locals and tourist can enjoy a breezy summer day under the trees.
5 Places to Cool Off in Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum fountain When it’s really, really hot, stepping in a fountain sounds super tempting. So why not, actually? That’s what the creators of the garden of the Rijksmuseum must have thought too. The garden around the Rijksmuseum is open to everyone and has a lovely fountain. This fountain is a popular place for kids – and grown-ups too, we don’t judge – to play in. Just walk through the water jets and take a seat at one of the chairs next to the fountain. You’ll be dry in a minute anyway. Vondelpark When you’re near the Rijksmuseum and Museum Quarter, you can also take a stroll in the Vondelpark. This nearby park is the largest and most popular park in Amsterdam. The large trees offer plenty of shadows to take a rest. There are a few restaurants where you can get something to eat or drink. But you can also dip a toe in the kids’ paddling pool. Sarphatipark at De Pijp This urban public park is located in De Pijp, one of Amsterdam’s coolest hotspots. The Sarphatipark is an oasis of peace in this rural part of the city. It is no secret that this place is very beloved by the local residents. This park offers something for everyone. There are ponds, large trees and plenty of places to sit down and relax. But also the kids don’t have to be bored. There is a playground for young kids and recreational facilities for the older ones. Get a few snacks at the Albert Cuijp Market nearby and relax for a while. Pllek Not ready to leave Amsterdam yet, but want to visit the beach? No problem! Amsterdam has a lot of ‘city beaches’. These artificially constructed beaches are the perfect places to enjoy the nice weather. At one of the best beaches, you’ll find Pllek. Pllek is a restaurant and bar, built of used shipping containers at the Amsterdam yard. Take a 20-minute ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station and you’ll feel like you’re on a beach holiday. Have a drink, cool off at the beach and marvel along the beautiful skyline of Amsterdam. Stayed a bit longer than intended? We can’t blame you. Pllek has weekly programs with live music, film, dance nights, and culinary events. There’s always something to do. The Hilton Roof Terrace Are you looking to cool down in style? The SkyLounge Amsterdam is the roof terrace of Amsterdam. The terrace is located on the 11th floor of the DoubleTree of the Hilton Hotel close to the central station It’s a perfect spot for an (extensive) lunch or a late night cocktail. The drinks are a bit pricey, but the spectacular view more than makes up for it. Of course, there are many other perfect places to celebrate the good weather in Amsterdam. You can perch at one of the countless terraces or book a canal cruise. Do you want to make the most of your stay in Amsterdam? Check out our tours and workshops!
A Family Visit
The Royal Coster Family But who is the Royal Coster Family? Of course, many members of our ever-expanding family are customers. Our colleagues are also proud members. But also former colleagues are still part of our inner-circle. No matter how long it has been, family is always welcome. That’s why every now and then we are visited by former colleagues. One of them is Theo (84). Theo For 67 years, Theo was a diamond polisher. He worked here at Coster until he was 80(!) years old. Theo is the embodiment of Coster: super friendly, kind, always happy and helpful to colleagues and visitors alike. He always chatted with clients, gave explanations in both Dutch and German. And he also did group tours in the Diamond Museum next-door. Theo was ready to take place behind the polishing table again. A visit to Coster A few days ago, Theo and his son-in-law Gerard dropped by. They just paid a visit to the Rijksmuseum and Theo insisted they would drop by at Coster. Sneaking silently into the company canteen, it didn’t take long before colleagues recognized Theo. After all, many of us worked with him. After greeting some familiar faces, Theo revealed the reason for his unannounced visit: his son-in-law needed to learn about diamonds! And who better to do so than Theo himself? There’s no way back now, Gerard. A lot of colleagues still know Theo (left). Mamadou (right) and he polished together for many years. The shoe still fits Before we knew it, Theo was standing next to one of the polishing stations. He explained the diamond polishing process like a pro. It looked as if he never left. Theo showed Gerard what it takes to turn a rough diamond into a sparkling brilliant. And why the 4 C’s of diamond valuation are so important and determine the gem’s value. Like a true craftsman, of course, Theo couldn’t resist the chance of sitting behind a polishing desk again. But also his son-in-law got the opportunity to feel like a true diamond polisher. Gerard (left) gets a private lesson from his father-in-law. Family is always welcome Overall, it was quite an exciting day. It was nice to see Theo again. As a member of our family, you are always welcome, announced or unannounced. But if you let us know next time, we’ll make sure the coffee is hot and the champagne is on ice. See you next time! Curious? Do you want to learn more about diamonds and see what Theo loves so much about Royal Coster Diamonds? Discover more during one of our diamond tours.