The Story of a Soldier’s Coat

I love this little corner of the Wittevrouwenkade/straat. During the summer, the lion holding the Utrecht city shield almost disappears from view behind the leaf-filled branches, but during this time of year, he’s visible with just the hint of leaves to come. The diagonals of red and white are the flag/coat of arms of Utrecht the City (the province flag has the same colors but differs in design). Here’s the story behind the colors and design:


According to the legend St. Martin gave the half of his red soldiers coat to an almost naked beggar. The beggar asked for an alms, but Martinus did not have any money and he was not allowed to give his complete coat. That is why he took his sword and cut his coat in two parts. At night he had a special dream. The beggar with the half of his red coat appeared to him and he was told that he had shared his coat with Jesus himself.

The coat of arms and the flag of the city of Utrecht demonstrate the story of the coat’s partition. The red part is the coat, the white part is the undergarment of St. Martin. The official banner in the city hall of Utrecht shows us the red/white division. (Source: stmaartenstadutrecht).