Who is Mr Sands?

The code phrase Mr Sands was used in public transport to alert staff and other agencies, such as the police, to an emergency or potential emergency such as a fire without alerting the public and creating panic. The code is believed to originally come from theatres, where ‘Mr Sands’ is used as a code announcement when a fire breaks out. Inspector Sands’ surname stems from the use of sand buckets, which are sometimes used to extinguish fires.

The location where The Dylan is located was a theatre in 1637, also the first municipal theatre in Amsterdam. On May 11th 1772 the entire block burned to the ground during a performance. A canister filled with candle wax caught fire and set the sides of the stage on fire. Many people lost their lives in the panic that followed.