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Civic Heraldry of Luxemburg

National Coat of arms of LUXEMBURG

The National arms of Luxemburg.

The arms of Luxembourg are identical to the arms of the old Counts of Luxembourg. Luxembourg was owned by Henry the Blind, count of Namur in the 12th century. When he died in 1196 his possessions were split. Luxembourg was inherited by his daughter Ermesinde, who married in 1214 Walram III of Limburg. He changed the lion of Limburg to a double-tailed lion, symbolising the fact that he now ruled two counties. His son Henry the blond, who did not inherit Limburg, added the blue bars (maybe derived from the Bierset Estate and family, but other origins have also been suggested), indicating that he started a new dynasty. Even though Luxembourg was owned by many different families, the arms remained the same. The oldest composition dates from 1242.

The arms of Luxemburg in the 15th century.

In the years the number of the bars differed from 4 to 14. Since the early 15th century the number is stable at 10. The lion also changed considerably in time. Originally the lion was red, without any special colours of the nails and tongue. The crown was also not always used, and finally, not all counts of Luxembourg used a double-tailed lion.

The main composition of the arms of Luxembourg, however, remained unchanged until 1890. In 1815 the Grand-Duchy became independent in personal union with the Netherlands (i.e. the Grand Duke was the King of the Netherlands). The arms were at that time similar to the present arms. In 1830 Luxembourg joined the Belgian Revolution (where Belgium separated from the Netherlands). This resulted in a division of Luxembourg, the Western part was joined with Belgium as the province Luxembourg. The eastern part remained a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands.

In 1890 King William III died, without sons. In the Netherlands his daughter inherited the throne, but in Luxembourg women were not allowed as head of state. Thus Adolf of Nassau became Grand Duke. Adolf was head of a different branch of the House of Nassau.

Adolf used several arms for Luxembourg. The first, from 1890-1898, were the old arms of Luxembourg with an escutcheon of Nassau (see Dutch National Arms). In 1898 he changed the arms. The small arms were quartered Luxembourg and Nassau, the middle arms were the same, placed on a mantle, in the third the arms were placed as an escutcheon on a shield with 16 fields.

The small arms of Luxembourg from 1898

The large arms of Luxembourg from 1898

The fields represent: Saarbrücken, Merenberg, Weilnau, Moers, Katzenelnbogen, Saarwerden, Diez, Lahr, Vianden, Kirchberg, Sayn, Mahlberg and in the escutcheon Nassau and Luxemburg. On the shield the helmets and crests of : Moers, Saarbrücken, Nassau, Luxemburg, Dietz and Sayn.

In the meantime the arms of the Grand Duchy were still the same and finally formalised in 1972, the present national arms.

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

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