east-coast of America was explored by Giovanni de Verazzano in 1524. In 1609
the territory east of the Delaware and around the mouth of the river Hudson were
taken in possession by Henry Hudson for his principal, the Dutch United East
India Company. In 1614 the Nieuw Nederland Compagnie was founded which was
handed over to the West India Company in 1621. In 1623 the territory was
named “The Province of New Netherland” (or: Nova Belgii). This
consisted of the actual states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.
the trade in the colony was reasonably profitable, it was nevertheless a
failure, mainly because of the small number of colonists. For that reason the
colony was exchanged by the Heeren XIX with the British for Surinam because
of its expected profitable sugar-production and slave-trade. On 18 august
1664 four English frigates appeared on the Hudson and Peter Stuyvesant, the
last Governor, handed over the colony to the British on 7 September of the
same year. The strategic importance for the British was great because they
controlled now all of the North-American east-coast from Terre Neuve down to
the Caribbean Sea.
cypher of the Eats India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) was adopted in 1603 by the
Heeren XVII. It consisted of the letters V, O and C. On the seal of the
Company there was a sailing-vessel.
India Company (Westindische Compagnie) had also a seal and a cypher.
The cypher consisted of the letters G, W and C (Geoctrooieerde
Westindische Compagnie). Some seals with the cypher of the
Company on it have been preserved. 
Cypher of the Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie
(Print of a wooden stamp, coll. Penningkabinet
regulations for the colony were promulgated by the Heeren XIX in 1624. These
provided for a Director General and the control of the trade by the
As the sovereign of the colony was the States General of the Republic, the arms of that council were also the arms of its sovereign. The arms were: Or, a lion rampant Gules, crowned or, in his sinister a bundle of arrows and in his dexter a sword. The shield is crowned by a ancient princely crown.
Detail of a map of Nieuw Nederland, 1655, showing the arms of the
A coat of
arms for the colony was probably adopted by the first Governor Pieter Minuit
(1626-’31) but no documents about these arms are preserved. It is:
Arms: Argent, a beaver per bend proper,
and a bordure Orange, charged with a twist of wampum proper.
Crown: A crown of three
These arms were also on the seal of Nieuw
Nederland. Its legend reads: SIGILLVM
NOVI BELGII. Of this seal some drawings are known, one of it
in the National Archives in The Hague.
The arms refer to the fur trade because the trade
of beaver-skins was crucial in the colony.  They
were mainly bought from the local population which accepted wampum for payment. The color orange refers to the
Princes of Orange, in this case Maurice of Orange (1618-’25), Stadholder and
Captain-Admiral-General of the Republic.
The crown poses some problems as it seems to be
of a diadem set with small pearls and two groups of three larger pearls but
also with three hoops. It is uncertain what rank was meant with this crown as
it is something in between a royal crown and a crown of a count. This could
mean that the status of the colony was uncertain. 
were used until the end of Dutch rule
in 1664 and possibly again in 1673-’74.
Seal of the Colony of Nieuw Nederland.
of Nieuw Nederland was Nieuw Amsterdam, numbering some 900 inhabitants in the
time of the WIC. In 1630 an achievement was proposed for the city. This
consisted of the arms of Amsterdam and a chief of a beaver in its colours on
a white field. The arms were crowned with the Imperial Crown (borrowed from
the achievement of Amsterdam) charged with the cypher of the Amsterdam
chamber of the W.I.C., and supported by two beavers. This proposal was
rejected. Later we see arms consisting of the arms of Amsterdam, the dexter
part paly uneven Gules and Argent, the sinister part paly uneven Argent and
Gules. The arms are crested by a beaver passant and is below some curtains
charged with a shield of the WIC-cypher. These arms are also on the seal of
the city. In 1664 Nieuw Amsterdam was renamed New York and the city is
situated in the State of New York now.
Project for the achievement of Nieuw Amsterdam, 1630. Not adopted.
New York Historical Society -
Arms of Nieuw Amsterdam
as on the frontispiece of
the “Beschryvinge van Nieuw Nederlant” by Adriaen van der Donck, 1656.
Seal of Nieuw Amsterdam
arms of the city crested by the cypher of the WIC. L.: SIGILLUM
AMSTELODAMENSIS IN NOVA BELGII
© Hubert de Vries 2010-02-09. Updated 2011-04-04; 2013-02-19
) Schutte, O: Catalogus der
Zegelstempels, berustende in het Koninklijk Penningkabinet en enige andere
verzamelingen. In: De Nederlandsche Leeuw 1971 n° 11, n°s 30-34, 35-41 (different
chambers). Felhoen-Kraal, J.: Wapens en Zegels van Suriname, Amsterdam, 1950
pp. 8-9, figs 2-8.
 ) Such a crown was worn for example by
Margaretha of Parma, governor of the
 ) The load of
‘t Wapen van Amsterdam in 1626 for example, counted 7246 beaver-skins on
a total amount of 8183 skins (89%).
) Zieber in his “Heraldry in America” writes about the arms of Nieuw
Nederland (p. 162): “This is the first public seal of the Province, and is thus
described: “Argent, a Beaver, proper, Crest,
a Coronet, Legend, SIGILLVM
NOVI BELGII.” In a paper by Van der Donck, entitled “Further Observations on the
Petition of the Commonalty of New Netherland”, it is stated, that “New
Netherland was called a Province because it was invested by their High
Mightinesses with the Arms of an Earl”.
In this blasoning the orange bordure and the twist of wampum, visible on
the seal, are omitted. There is no other documentation available.