This XL cross stitch community project connects more people than expected

Thanks for taking the time to admire these huge flowers. On this page, you can learn a bit more about the project.

More than 277 people stitched this embroidered work of art between April and June 2024. This created surprising connections between people who normally never meet.

XL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek
XL cross stitch art piece weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam

Mayor Femke Halsema also came to participate.

From engineer to postman, from homeless person to canal house owner, from actress to ecologist, and from nurse to long covid patient.
Everyone embroiders along. Making something beautiful turns out to be a fantastic way to help people step out of their bubble. A video of an embroidering baby on Studio Koekoek’s Instagram page shows that no experience is necessary.

On the 1st of June 2024 Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema stepped from her bike to help the project. That was such a beautiful recognition of the work we did.

“The project connects so many more people than I could imagine. My head is still full of stories shared by the people who joined. So many different backgrounds and dreams, but united when stitching together.”- Gerda Leeffers.


The project already inspired 1 million people worldwide

The videos of the making process went viral on Instagram. The project has already been viewed by a million people.

1 million different accounts viewed the videos :-O !

It’s so nice to see that so many people love to see people connecting with other people. Ultimately, we are all human. And we all long for connection.

It’s also a bit shocking to see that the total hours watching time at Instagram is way higher than the total number of hours spend on creating the work. We’re so much on our phone’s nowadays.

We hope our project may spread sparks of creativity in the world. And that others will start other community projects. In the real world. Not only on the phone :-).

XL cross stitch is such a beautiful way to connect with your neighbors and colleagues. Contact us if you like to hire us to kick-start your project. 

We work in pairs, one is the boss, the other needs to listen

We work in pairs. One person is the boss. He or she is located at the front and keeps an overview. The person on the other side of the mesh must follow the instructions. So it’s an exercise in communication. It leads to great conversations, sometimes some bickering, but above all a lot of fun.

Unexpected things happen when you stitch in public

When you work outdoors in a busy street, you have to be ready for surprises.

One of the most beautiful examples was the day that we got a surprise visit from a street musician. We danced and had lots of fun.

XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam

For the math lovers

The youngest participant was 6 months old. The oldest participant was 91 years old.

Really. Everybody was able to join.

Together we made 23,338 cross stitches with 277 people. That’s an average of 168 stitches per duo.

But hey – that’s an average. Some people only made a few stitches, others fell in love with the process and came back daily. 

It took approx 1100 hours of work to stitch this artwork.

This number is not so accurate as we did not set a timer everyday we worked. After all, we were focused on enjoying the human connections that were created while stitching rather than the amount of hours worked. But it’s our best estimate.

And then it took an incalculable amount of extra work to check all the knots on the backside of the work. 🙂

Why here? 

Gerda Leeffers – the initiator of this project – is running her creative business Studio Koekoek right on top of this art work.

Mid-2023, Gerda got the idea to decorate the wall with a huge embroidery. She was passing difficult times, felt lonely in her sorrows and was looking for ways to return to her positive mindset. Every day she was passing the boring wall, often covered in graffiti and dirt, to enter her studio. And that was not helping her mood. She was looking for bright colors and lots of green and flowers in a concrete – dominant street. Gerda also wanted to create a project that would make people connect as she was so much longing for connection herself.

Gerda started doodling some designs and shared the idea with neighbors and the owner of the building. They encouraged her to really start the project.

XL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek - beforeXL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek

Slide on the arrows to see the before and after situation.

A big thanks!

To all the 277 people that helped stitching. Every single stitched helped us to create this beautiful piece of art.

To the countless number of people cheering for us on the street or online.

For Lieven de Key – the owner of this building – for supporting the project from the very start.

For Peter, Dieneke, Saskia, Carola, Andrea and Ellen that helped countless days with countless small and big tasks.

To the Gemeente Amsterdam and Fonds voor Centrum for subsiding part of the cost.

For the Knowledge Mile project team to support and share the project with the network.

To AT5 to create a beautiful item on TV.

For Adri to help think about the construction.

For Hans and the team of Intercell for installing the art work.

For all the other press that helped us to get so many people to join.


A big big big thanks!

I could have never imagined it would be so much fun.


XL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek

Like to set up a XL cross stitch project at your location?

We would love to XL embroidery in other places, for example in another city, or as a team building activity at a company or organization. We can already picture it. The CEO embroidering with the cleaner.

We’re flexible to think with you on design, size, project management etc. It can be a huge project like you’re looking at here, or a smaller project that fits in your space.

Please contact us to discuss and to learn how you can hire us to help.

XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek
XL cross stitch community project - Studio Koekoek - Amsterdam
XL cross stitch Weesperstraat 100 Amsterdam - Studio Koekoek