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Belgische Gemeentewapens - Armories communales de Belgique
Belgian Civic Heraldry

ANTWERPEN

Province : Antwerpen
Additions : 1982 Berchem, Berendrecht, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Hoboken, Lillo, Merksem, Wilrijk, Zandvliet

Wapen van Antwerpen

Origin/meaning:

The town probably got city rights at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century. The oldest seal of the city dates from 1239 and shows a castle. On top of the castle some flags bearing a hand can be seen. The second great-seal of the city also shows the hands on flags or banners (Fig 1).


Fig 1 : The great seal of Antwerpen from 1302.

The oldest arms of the city date from 1459 and are cast in one of the bells of the cathedral. It shows again a castle, but the hands are now reduced to two, one on each side of the castle, and are not placed on flags anymore (fig 2).


Fig 2 : The oldest arms of Antwerpen.

In the same century the supporters and other attributes appear. The arms were changed in Napoleonic times, when the French Eagle was placed above the castle. Later, in 1837 the arms were granted without the supporters. The supporters were finally granted in 1881. The present arms were reconfirmed on March 5, 1985.

Literature : Vries, H. de : Wapens van de Nederlanden, Amsterdam, 1995.



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