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Royal Netherlands



Arms of the Communities


Armed Forces











Essay [1]


The coat of arms of Belgium is Sable, a lion rampant Or, langued and unguled Gules. They are the arms of the former duchy of Brabant that often played a leading role in the history of Belgium.


The Southern Netherlands.

After the actual separation of the Northern Netherlands, Spanish authority was restored in the south. Although Philip II still had to make a few concessions to the regional autonomy, everything remained the same. The Spanish king remained the sovereign, except for a short period in the years 1598-1621, until (de jure) 1740. As a result of the conflict for the succession in Spain after the death of Charles II in 1700, the Southern Netherlands gradually broke away from the Spanish crown and, after a complex political development, became part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The revolutionary turmoil in France at the end of the eighteenth century did not fail to make a big impression in the Southern Netherlands. The Liège and Brabant revolutions were the result. However, there could be no question of an independent state. After the fall of the Austrian regime, the "Ancien Régime", the Southern Netherlands were first swallowed up by their larger neighbor France and then, after the fall of Napoleon, the great powers merged them with the Northern Netherlands into the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After centuries of domination by foreign royal houses and powers, the sovereignty of the Southern Netherlands finally came into being after the Belgian Revolt in 1830.

The changes in governmental heraldry in the Southern Netherlands are a perfect illustration of these political developments.


From Albrecht and Isabella to the end of the Spanish War of Succession.

In the Republic of the United Netherlands in the north the Dutch Lion was further developed into a coat of arms as explained above. [2] In the South, the uncrowned lion with the sword gradually became a national symbol, the “Belgian Lion” or “Leo Belgicus”. On coins he regularly appears as the supporter of the small dynastic arms of the sovereigns, being impaled of Austria and Burgundy. Maximilian Emanuel had his Wittelsbach / Palatinate quartered coat of arms with the escutcheon with the orb in the centre, be supported by him. Later on, Maria Theresia also gave him the coat of arms of Burgundy, which she used for the whole of her exuberant heritage (in addition to the Brabant coat of arms) to support. In addition, he was also used as a supporter of the regional arms of the South. [3]  By Josef II the Belgian Lion was replaced as a supporter by the crowned double imperial eagle with scepter, sword and orb. On the shield, impaled of Austria and Burgundy, an archducal and ducal crown was placed.

The arms of Philip the Fair were only changed by Philip V, albeit with the beloved consent of the Belgians. It is on the seal of majesty that was used from 1702 onwards. It is quarterly of Austria, Burgundy Modern, Burgundy Ancient and Brabant enté en point of an impaled of Flanders and Tyrol. The Anjou coat of arms came on the escutcheon: Blue with three golden lilies and a red bordure. [4] These arms were abolished by Charles III and not replaced by the old one.

The larger arms of the sovereigns in the Southern Netherlands now changed with the person of the prince, especially in the turbulent period between 1700 and 1740.

On 10 September 1597, Philip II decided to leave his daughter Isabella the sovereignty over the Low Countries. At the same time she was married off to Archduke Albert who was governor at that time in the Netherlands. Albrecht used the same arms as his father, Emperor Maximilian II, but of course without the imperial augmentation. It was quartered of Hungary and Bohemia with the royal coat per fess of Charles V, a brother of his grandfather, as an escutcheon in the middle. After accepting the sovereignty in 1598, the combined arms of both archdukes became a combination of the Hungary-Bohemian quarters and the coat of arms of Spain (with the addition of Portugal) from 1599 onwards. [5] Following the tradition in the Netherlands, the arms are supported  by two lions. [6] The coat of arms is crowned with a remarkable crown with three leaves, two fleurons and four pearls which, due to the lack of hoops, should display the princely rank directly below the royal one. Whether this crown was ever actually available is not clear. Around the shield was the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, of which Albrecht had become the 285th knight in 1599.

The royal coat of arms was changed by Philip V. On the shield per fess of  Spain and the Netherlands, the quarters of Flanders and Tyrol on the escutcheon in the middle were enté en point now and were replaced  by the arms of Anjou. The coat of arms of Portugal, which had been in the top half of the coat of arms after Philip II ‘s conquest of Portugal in 1580 from 1585 onwards, he dropped, because Portugal had been independent again after 1640. He added only the collar of the French Order of the Holy Spirit to the showpieces customary for the Netherlands. The crown was modernized into a crown with five hoops [7]

Charles (III) carried on the Spanish tradition of his Habsburg predecessors, albeit that, like Philip V, but in the first instance to spare his Portuguese allies, he left out the shield with the coat of arms of Portugal.

For Maximilian Emanuel the problem occurred that he obviously could not make use of the Spanish royal arms or the old Austrian-Burgundian. His coat of arms as a sovereign of the Netherlands therefore has a completely different form than the usual one until then. It can be regarded as the successor to Philip the Fair's arms as well as the sovereigns arms. In its design it is more reminiscent of the formula that Francis of Anjou used. Unlike this one, however, Maximilian Emanuel placed his dynastic arms on an escutcheon in the middle while the shield was completely occupied by the regional arms. As a Duke of Bavaria-Palatinate, he covered the shield with an electoral hat while he could surround it as the 564th knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (1672) with the collar of this order.

After Charles III was crowned Emperor as Charles VI and had taken over sovereignty in the Netherlands in 1714, he adopted an achievement for the Southern Netherlands, which differed from that of Charles V in 1524 only in the artistic development.  [8] Like him, he was in charge of Spain. the coat of arms of Spain and the Netherlands with the Imperial eagle as supporter. On the shield there is even an open crown, in that time no longer a royal crown, to make the similarity even bigger. The Pillars of Hercules are missing.

In accordance with the Peace of Vienna of 1725 with which the Spanish Succession War was concluded and in which among others the title issue was settled, Charles VI was allowed to continue to carry the Spanish royal title for the remainder of the Spanish legacy until his death. The award of the Burgundian Ducal title, with which the dignity of Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece was inextricably united, remained undecided. From this time on a new coat of arms appears on Dutch coins in which the Spanish element is emphasized extra. It is almost identical to that of Philip V, with the difference that the lilies and the bordure on the escutcheon were replaced by the double rich eagle. The showpieces - the imperial crown, the collar and the lions - are similar to those of the former achievement. [9]


Maria Theresia and her successors.

After Naples and Sicily had to be ceded to the Bourbons in 1735, there was no question anymore that the daughter and successor of Charles VI, Maria Theresia, could inherit the Spanish titles. In her title the names "... Castilien, Legion, Aragon, Beyder Sizilien (...) König" which are still in the title of her father, are missing [10] The Southern Netherlands had nothing to do with Spain any more, but with Austria the more. A consequence of this was that from now on the Majesty's coat of arms was composed in the Austrian tradition, in which the court chancellery in Vienna was decisive. After 1745 the traditional lions were abolished as supporters and were replaced by the two-headed imperial eagle.

Maria Theresa carried arms of majestyin four categories. For the Southern Netherlands, regarded as a separate geographical and political area on which she could claim sovereignty as heir of the Burgundian title, she carried the coat of arms of Burgundy, crowned with a ducal hat and held by the Belgian Lion with the sword. Strictly speaking, these arms can be seen as the narional arms of the Southern Netherlands, especially as neither the French sovereign in Burgundy itself nor the Burgundian provincial administration carried the same arms, but the modern, arms quarterly of Burgundy.

In the following categories the arms were each time augmented with the arms corresponding with the titles considered relevant. For example, the coat of arms in the second category was shared between Austria and Burgundy, where for the Dutch element either the Burgundian Cross or the Belgian Lion were added as showpieces. Because of her imperial descent and as the wife of the Roman Emperor Francis I of Lorraine (1745-'65), it was covered with the imperial crown.

In the lesser arms there was room reserved for the territories under the Hungarian and Bohemian crown, the Dutch and the Italian possessions, respectively represented. through the arms of Hungary, Bohemia and Brabant and the Snake of Visconti for Lombardy. The coat of arms of Austria and Burgundy came, covered with an archducal hat, on an escutcheon. These arms were initially crowned with the imperial crown but later with a royal crown. The crowned and nimbused imperial eagle serves as a supporter.

The larger arms counted fifteen arms on twenty-five fields with an escutcheon. The classification roughly corresponds to the order of the titles with the omission of some apparently irrelevant. [11] We see here again the armss of Hungary and Bohemia, but also of the Spanish claims (which, although not taken seriously but still really cherished). Furthermore, we find the arms of the duchies and the arms of five areas with a special status in the monarchy. Finally, in the lower half, the quarters are from the coat of arms of Francis I of Lorraine.

In 1752 Maria Theresia added as Empress (since 1745) the imperial eagle as a suporter with which she continued the tradition established by her father. [12]  Finally, in 1766, the royal crown was replaced by the realistically represented Hungarian crown of St Stefan and the Bohemian crown of St Wenceslas. [13]

During the succession of Joseph II in the Southern Netherlands in 1780, especially for this part of his possessions, a completely new large arms of majesty was designed whose shield was inspired by the coat of arms of Maximilian Emanuel. At the urging of Vienna, the armss of Hungary, Spain and Bohemia were added to the original design. The imperial eagle got the sword, the scepter and the orb, which were usual since Leopold I, while the shield, besides the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, was now also surrounded with the decorations of the Military Order of Maria Theresa and of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stefan. The achivement was approved by Joseph II by letter of 22 February 1781. [14]  Leopold II, who succeeded his brother in 1790, carried the almost the same arms. but for the coat of arms of Spain which was replaced by that of Galicia and Lodomeria. The cross of the Tuscan Order of Saint Stefan was added to the decorations of knighthood. [15]


The Revolutions and the Incorporation in France.

Emperor Joseph II was an enlightened prince who tried to modernize the state system in Belgium with radical reforms. The local rulers came against it and, using the military impotence of the Habsurgers of the moment, founded the “Republic of the United Belgian States”. The new republic had, unsurprisingly, a weak central authority and a large regional autonomy, and in that respect resembled the Republic of the United Provinces. One of the few common institutions was the coinage and the arms of the federation were put on a coin by law of 11 January 1790. According to the text, it is “ a sun that sheds its rays on every province”  [16] . On the coin in question on one side is a sun surrounded by eleven shields with the arms of the affiliated regions, and on the other side the Belgian Lion with, according to the shading, red shield with the word "LIBERTAS". The motto reads: “DOMINI EST REGNUM ET IPSE DOMINATIBUR GENTIUM  (The Lord is King and He rules the People).

Only the Belgian lion was used on flags and in publications, probably because the “arms” were too complicated. In the regions the lion was little, so not used at all. These preferred their own traditional arms. [17]

The federation quickly collapsed due to mutual divisions. Leopold II, who succeeded his brother Joseph, restored the Habsburg authority in December 1790. Soon the Southern Netherlands were conquered by the French revolutionaries and in 1795 they were even annexed to France. The provinces were divided into nine departments. With the regional autonomy or what was left of it, it was finally done. In the place of the royal arms, the French state emblems now appeared and under Napoleon the imperial arms. In 1814 the former southern regions were merged with the northern part by the Congress of Vienna to form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and so the royal coat of arms of William I became also the arms of Belgium.


The Kingdom of Belgium.

The union of the north and the south only lasted for a short time. In the summer of 1830, after the performance of the opera “La Muette de Portici” (the Deaf and Dumb of Portici) in the Muntschouwburg, a revolt broke out. As a symbol the insurgents used the Belgian lion as it was used in 1795. On the shield was now “LIBERTÉ instead of  "LIBERTAS" and in its left claw the lion held a stake with the “Hat.of liberty”.

Already on 4 October, an independent state was proclaimed that was recognized by the great powers on 20 December. To the roman province “Belgica Secunda” and the name “Belgium” that was used as a latin name for the Netherlands for a long time, the new state was called  België or, in French, Belgique. At that time the provisional government used a seal stamp with the motto “UNION FORCE” surrounded by the inscription “GOUVERNEMENT PROVISOIRE DE LA BELGIQUE”.

By the National Congress a constitutional monarchy was chosen as a form of government in the Constitution of 7 February 1831. The arms that the new state would carry was, according to art. 125 "the Belgian lion" and the motto "L'Union Fait la Force - Eendracht Maakt Macht". The lion was initially always represented looking and clawing to the (heraldic) left (sinister). [18]

In July 1831, Leopold of Saxony-Coburg-Saalfeld was found ready to become king. On the 21st he was inaugurated in Brussels. The Belgian lion, gold with red tongue and claws, was placed on a black shield that was crowned with a royal crown.

The personal arms of Leopold were originally that of Saxony-Coburg-Saalfeld. At his marriage to Charlotte, the daughter of King George IV of England on April 17, 1818, he was allowed to qquarter the coat of arms of Great Britain with the coat of arms of Saxony.[19] Even before 1834 Leopold I enlarged this coat of arms with a heartshell Belgium, the lion now crowned and in the normal position. A royal crown was placed on the coat of arms and around it the chain of the Leopold Order, founded in 1832, was laid. This whole was placed on six crossed national flags, a scepter and a Hand of Justice. Under the coat of arms is the belgian motto in French on a ribbon. [20]

In Royal Decree of 17 May 1837, art. 125 of the Constitution was ratified. The opportunity here was taken to put the lion back in the normal position. Likewise, the crown was removed from the head of the lion.

The decree contains provisions concerning the large and small arms of state. The large is a rather overcrowded whole, nevertheless combining Burgundian and Habsburg traditions in a successful way. The arms of the provinces, which have a different status than the regions of yesteryear, return to the banners that protrude above the coat of arms.

The motto "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE" recalls the years of the Pacification of Ghent and the proverb of the States General. He can also be traced directly to the saying "L'UNION NOUS REND FORTS" which was used by the insurgents against the Austrian regime.

Scepter and Hand of Justice appear early in French heraldry. After they disappeared during the 1st French Republic they were reintroduced by Napoleon.

The achievement was set up in the form developed at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

The smaller arms  consists of the crowned arms with collar, scepter, hand of justice and motto. [21]

Around 1839 the royal arms were changed by turning the order of the quarters. The dynastic arms now came on an escutcheon in the middle and the Belgian lion on the main shield. In 1921 the escutcheon disappeared.




ÆThe Burgundians


House of Orleans

Francis of Anjou



 Foto KPK, Leiden)

Coin from 1582 with the arms of Francis of Anjou as a sovereign of the Netherlands

combining his own arms with the arms of the provinces

 On the reverse the symbol of the nation.


Sun radiant above restless sea.  FOVET ET DICVTIT: (Supports tosses)


The Royal Netherlands


House of Habsburg

Isabella of Spain


Sovereign of the Netherlands 1598-1621


Seal of Archduchess Isabella


Her diamond-shaped shield of a woman waiting for the blason of her husband on the dexter half. On the sinister the burgundian cross with flint and steel, emblem of the Burgundian army.




Cardinal 1577-1598

Vice-king of Portugal 1583

Archbishop of Toledo 1595-1598

Stadholder of the  Netherlands1596

¥ Isabella of Spain 1599

Knight of the Fleece. n° 285, 1599

Sovereign of the Netherlands 1598


Archbishop of Toledo and Vice-king of Portugal 



Arms.: ¼ of Arpad and  Bohemia with escutcheon ½ of  Spain and The Netherlands

Archducal crown and Archbishops’ hat with 2 x 6 (al. 10) fiocchi.


From: Linschooten, I.H. van: Itinerario, Amsterdam 1596: a ilha e  cidade de goa (&c).


Archduke Albert as a knight of the Fleece, 1599


These arms contain the blasons of Hungary (Arpad) and Bohemia.In the dexter are five quarters for Spain and in the sinister half five quarters for the Austrian territories and in base the arms of Lower Austria. On a smaller shield in chief there are the dynastic arms of Albrecht being impaled of Austria and Burgundy. The arms are crested with a bunch of peacock-feathers on a archducal hat on a helmet lambrequined Azure and Or and is surrounded by the collar of the Fleece. [22]


Archdukes Albert and Isabella


1599 Arms: ¼ of Arpad and Bohemia and escutcheon. ½ of Spain and The Netherlands. Crown 3, 2, 3. Order of the Fleece..


After his wedding in 1599 the combined arms of Albrecht en Isabella became:


Seal of Albert and Isabella with the arms of Albert


Arms: ½: I. 1|2 , 1.  of Arpad en Bohemia. 2. Spain with escutcheon Portugal; II. The Netherlands. Crown: A princely crown.

Orde.: Of te Fleece..


Seal with achievement of Albert and Isabella


Arms, crown and order as before but two lions for supporters added.

L.: c • s • alber • et • elisab • hisp • inf • arch • avst • pro • dvc • loth • brab • limbmar • s • imp ª

Achievement of Albert and Isabella

Coll. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


1 escalin 1612-1621


Arms: Per pale of Austria and Burgundy

Supporter: German eagle (The Netherlands a part of the Kingdom of Germany)


Medal at the occasion of the funeral of Albert, 1622

Arm with sword upright, badge of army command, laurel of victory


The motto on the ribbon reads: PVLCHRVM CLARESCERE VTROQVE (And everything becomes clear to both)


Philip IV


Knight T.d’.O. n° 326, 1613

King of Spain 1621-1665

King of the Sicilies 1621-1665  

Lord of the Netherlands 1621-1665


Lord of the Netherlands

Great Seal: The king sitting on his throne with crown, sword and sceptre. On the dexter of the throne the arms of Spain with crown and collar. On the sinsiter the arms for the Netherlands with crown and collar. On both sides of the throne the burgundian cross and the flint and steel, emblem of the Burgundian army.

L.:  s . phil . d . g. reg . hisp . vtr . sicil . archid .  avst . dvc . bvrg . lvx . co . flan . arth . hol . zel . nam . do . fr. mech . & C.


Smaller Seal: The arms of Spain with crown and collar.

 L.: philIPPVS d . g. reX . hisp .ZC. arch .  avst . dvx . bvrg . BRAB : comes . flan . &C. (Vredius 1639, p. 300).


Other sources show the arms supported by two lions:


Foto H.d.V. 22.07.’99.

Highreliëf of the achievement  on the Waterpoort in Antwerp. 1624


Arms: ½ of Spain with escucheon Portugal, and The Netherlands.

Crown: Royal crown.

Order of the Fleece and

Supporters: two lions guardant.


Ducal arms of the Netherlands as on the great seal


1 escalin 1621-1665


Arms: Per pale of Austria and Burgundy

Supporter: Lion with sword (Leo Belgicus)


Reverse: Royally crowned royal arms on burgundian cross (without collar).


The Leo Belgicus was a crest of Charles V and was made a supporter of the bundle of arrows on the seal of the States General in 1578 and developed to the arms of the (northern) Republic of the Netherlands. Here he is made the supporter of the dynastic arms of Philip IV. 


Charles II


Knight T.d’O. n° 470, 1665

King of Spain 1665-1700

King of the Sicilies 1665-1700

Lord of the Netherlands 1665-1700


Royal achievement in the Netherlands


Royal Seal for Brabant:

A.: Spain, royally crowned, and surrounded by the collar of the Fleece. Supported by two lions.

L.: s . carol . ii . d . g . reg . hisp . vtri . sicil . z . archid . avst . dvc . bvrg . pro dvc . lotha . brab . lim . mar . s . imp.   


Lit.: Tourneur Nicodème, M. Denis Waterloos, graveur des sceaux (1628-1715). In: Revue Belge de Numismatique 1953 pp. 91-101 Pl. vii - ix.

The same achievement is on a commemorative medal. On the obverse is a portrait of Charles II.

L.: carolvs ii d g hispaniarvm et indiarvm rex . achidvx . avstriæ . dvx . bvrgvndiæ . brabantiæ z.


Lit.: Loon, G. van: Beschrijving van de Nederlandsche Historipenningen. ‘s Graavenhaage. mdccxxiii. Dl. iv, p. 254.


House of Bourbon

Philip IV (V)


Lord of the Netherlands 1700-1703

King of Spain 1700-1724 / 1724-1746

King of Naples 1700-1707

King of Sicily-Trinacria 1700-1713


Great seal of Philip V for Brabant


Philip V seated between his arms for Spain and The Nehertlands

Coat of arms of the Royal Netherlands, 1703

After the great seal for Brabant of Philip V


Arms: ¼ van Austria, Valois, Burgundy and Brabant enté an pointe of 1|2 Vlaanderen and Tirol. Escutcheon: Bourbon (= France with bordure Gules).

Crown: Ducal crown

Order: Of the Fleece. [23]

Dukaton, 1703


Arms: ½ of Spain and the Netherlands (new) with escutcheon Bourbon.

Crown: Royal crown with five hoops

Orders: Du St. Esprit, Du Toison d’Or

Supporters: Two lions


House of Bavaria

Maximiliaan II Emmanuel


 Elector and duke of Bavaria 1679-1726

Knight of the Fleece n° 564 1692

 Lord of the Southern Netherlands 1711-1714


An ally of France during the War of Spanish Succession, he was banished from the Empire in 1705. In compensation for the loss of Bavaria, Philip V ceded the Catholiic Netherlands in 1711 to him. In reality, he obtained only Luxembourg and the county of Namur, the other countries being occupied by troops of the allies. The Treaty of Utrecht of 11 April 1713 granted the Catholic Netherlands to the Austrian branch of the Habsburg House, but the transactions dragged on until 7 September 1714, the date on which the terms of the said Treaty of Utrecht were accepted and the Duchy of Bavaria was restitutied. to Maximilian Emmanuel.



Arms:  ¼ of Wittelsbach and Palatinate with escutcheon of the Erztruchsess

Crown: Electors cap 

Order: Of the Fleece

Supporters: Two crowned lions


Engraving with the achievement of Maximiliaan II Emanuel for his birthday on 11 July 1705 made by Jacques-François de Caverson. (K.B. Brussel, Cab. des Est. Inv. Nr. S. III 30641 Fol.)



Arms: 1/8 enté en point: Brabant, Limburg, Luxemburg, Gelre, Vlaanderen, Henegouwen, Namen, Mechelen and Antwerpen. Escutcheon: ¼ of Wittelsbach and Palatinate with escutcheon of the Erztruchsess

Crown: Electors cap 

Order: Of the Fleece


House of Habsburg

Charles III/VI



Dukaton with achievement of Charles VI, 1711


The arms per fess of Spain and The Netherlands with royal crown, order of the Fleece and two lions for supporters. These arms were used before the Treaty of Utrecht.


Coin with achievement of Charles VI, 1725


After the sovereignty was trasmitted after the Treaty of Utrecht this new achievement apears on coins. On it the arms of Bourbon are replace by the arms of the empire and the collar of the oder of the Holy Ghost are omitted. The royal crown of Philip V is replaced by the imperial crown


The royal arms of 1711 restored, the lions replaced by the Imperial Eagle. This is the arrangement of the achievement of an imperial vicar


From: Butkens, Christophorus Trophées tant sacrés que prophanes du duché de Brabant, Antwerpen, 1641, Deel II (1724), p. 13


Maria Theresia



Seal of Maria Theresa for the Council of Brabant.


In the arms the claims on Spain play a minor role but instead the other possesions of the Habsburg monarchy are all represented:  In the first: Spain; in the second Hungary and Bohemia, The third of Steyermark, Brabant, Karinthia, Moravia. In the second row: Transylvania, Vlaanderen, Geldern, Tirol and Gorz. The third row of Lorraine, Medici and Bar.

The shield is royally crowned and supported by the imperial two-headed eagle imperially crowned symbolizimg imperial mandate.



1 Escalin, 1752


Arms: Burgundy

Supporter: Lion with sword (Leo Belgicus)


Josef II



Photo Stad Brugge

Achievement of Josef II

From: Guldenboek van de Academie, 1781. Stadsarchief Brugge. Inv. Schouten nr. 20


The arms are tierced per fess, the first tierced per pale, the second quartered per pale, the third also quartred per pale and the fourth impaled: 1. Hungary, 2. Quarterly of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Sicilia Trinacria, 3. Bohemia, 4, Brabant, 5 Limburg, 6 Luxemburg, 7 Gelre, 8 Vlaanderen, 9. Henegouwen, 10 Artois. 11 Namen, Antwerpen, 11. Mechelen. Ant and escutceon tierced of Austria, Lorraine and Burgundy.


Verenigde Belgische Staten / États-Belgiques-Unis



The United Belgian States was a confederal republic of eight provinces which had their own governments, were sovereign and independent, and were governed directly by the Sovereign Congress (Congrès souverain / Soeverein Congres), the confederal government. The Sovereign Congress was seated in Brussels and consisted of representatives of each of the eight provinces. The republic consisted of eight provinces and three smaller separate territories, each with their own regional identities.


The emblem of the United Belgian States, 1790


Emblem: A sun radiant surrounded by the arms of the provinces (clockwise): Flanders West Flanders, Limburg, Namur, Tournai, Tourniasis, Mechelen, Brabant, Hainaut, Brabant, Luxemburg.

Arms: Gules, the word LI BER TAS (Or)

Supporter: The Leo Belgicus [armed with a sword] proper


Mottto DOMINI EST REGVM / ET IPSE DOMINABITUR GENTIVM (The Lord is King and He rules the people)


Leopold II




Arms: 1/14: 1. Hungary; Galicia and Lodomeria; Bohemia; Brabant; Lmburg,; Luxemburg; Gelre; Vlaanderen; Henegouwen; Artois; Namen; Antwerpen; Mechelen.

Crowns: The Holy crown of St Stephen and The Holy crown of St. Wenceslas

Order: Of the Fleece


Frans II



Duke of Burgundy


Foto H.d.V. 2000.

Seal and box with arms of Francis II.

Musée de l’Armée, Brussels


As a duke of Burgundy Francis II bore the achievement of Charles the Bold unchanged that is:

Arms: ¼: 1&3 Valois; 2. 1|2 of Burgundy and Brabant; 3. 1|2 of Burgundy  and Limburg. Escutcheon: Vlaanderen

Crest: Fleur de lis

Order: of  the Fleece.

Supporters: Two llions.

L.: ?? and then: duc bur gel brab limb luxemb com fland.


République Française



French departements in the Southern Netherlands, 1795-1814


The Southern Netherlands, the Principality-diocese of Liege and some other adjacent territories were annexated by France on 1 October 1795 (31-08-1795) and administrated from Brussesls. At first the teriritory was divided by a project of Charles-Lambert Doutrepont into nine departements by decree of  14 fructidor an III. A month later these departements were formally united with the République Française by decree of  9 vendémiaire an IV (01-10-1795).


The départements were:

Lys, Jemappes, Escaut, Dyle, Ourthe, Meuse inférieure, Sambre et Meuse, Deux Nethes, Forêts.


These Departements sealed with a version of the Liberty-seal and during the Empire with the Imperial Eagle


Great seal of the République Française, 1792 – 1799/1804.


The seal shows a virgin standing upright dressed in a classical chiton, holding a pole crested with a cap of liberty in her left and supporting a fasces, axe on the outside (as was obliged within the pomerium or boundaries of the city) and a rudder of state with her right.

L.: au nom de la republique française. And a bordure of 83 five-pointed stars


The woman represents the sovereign french people and she replaces the image of the king. The freedom of the people is symbolized by the phrygian cap. The judicial power is symbolized by the fasces and the rudder of state symbolizes the administration. In this configuration the tria politica, the separation of the powers is symbolized.

During the Consulat (1799-1804) the image ramained the same but the legend was changed into: au nom du peuple français bonaparte consul.


Æ See also: RF Great Seal


Empire Français



See: Æ France



House of Bonaparte

Napoleon I



Gobelin of a version of the arms of Napoleon by Dubois

Musée de Malmaison.


Crown with palmettes. Collar of the Légion d’Honneur with the vexillæ, the star crowned.


Koninkrijk der Nederlanden



Æ See:  Nederland


House of Oranje-Nassau

Willem I Frederik



Larger achievement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

At the inauguration of King William I in Brussels, 21.09.1815

By Jan Willem Pieneman (?) ~1819  [24]


The achievement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on a main de justice and a lion-sceptre in saltire. Surrounded by 17 vexillæ radiant, symbolizing the 17 provinces.


The Belgian Revolt  1830


The Belgian Lion with shield, sword and Hat of Liberty.  On the dexter red and yellow flag: LIEGE POUR BRUXELLES VAINCRE OU MOURIR. On the sinister red, yellow and black flag of 26.08.1830: LIBERTÉ  SÉCURITÉ PUBLIQUE.

On the socle two clasped hands within a garland and the motto L’Union fait notre Force below.


Koninkrijk België / Royaume de Belgique



Constitution of the Kingdom of Belgium 07.02.1831


Algemeene Bepalingen.


Art. 125. De Belgische natie voert als kleuren: rood, geel en zwart, en als Rijkswapen, den Belgische Leeuw met de spreuk: EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT.


(De Belgian Nation bears for colours red, yellow and black, and for national coat of arms, the Belgian Lion and the motto Unity Makes Strength).


Seal of the Gouvernement Provisoire de la Belgique 1830





17 Mars 1837 Arrêté qui détermine le sceau de l'État (Bull. off., n. CXXVII).


Léopold, etc. Vu l'art. 125 de la constitution;

Sur le rapport de notre Ministre de l'Intérieur et des Affaires étrangères,

          Nous avons arrêté et arrêtons:

       Art. 1er. Les dessins, approuvés par nous et annexés au présent arrêté, contenant les armes du royaume, serviront comme types du grand et du petit sceau de l'État.

       Art. 2. Nos Ministres sont chargés, chacun en ce qui concerne, de l'exécution du présent arrêté.




       De sable, au lion d'or, armé et lampassé de gueules, l'écu timbré d'un heaume ou casque d'or, bordé, damasquiné, taré de front, ouvert et sans grilles, fourré de gueules et sommé d'une couronne royale d'or, aux lambrequins d'or et de sable; l'écu entouré du collier de l'ordre de Léopold, accompagné de deux sceptres d'or passés en sautoir, à dextre, à la main de justice, et à senestre au lion de l'écu.

       Supports deux lions léopardés au naturel, tenant chacun une bannière d'or, frangée de même, tiercée en pal de sable, d'or et de gueueles.

       Le tout posé sous un pavillon de gueules herminé, bordé, frangé, houppé et cordonné d'or avec la couronne royale en comble, d'ou issent deux bandelettes d'argent bordées et houppées d'or.

       Derrière le pavillon et au-dessus, un panonceau ondoyant au couleurs de Belgique, chargé de l'écusson de Brabant, semblable à celui du royaume, lequel panonceau est accosté des bannières des huit autres provinces; savoir:

       A dextre   De Liège, qui est écartelé, au premier, de gueules au perron d'or de trois degrés, soutenu de trois lionceaux accroupis et surmonté d'une pomme de pin, le tout d'or, qui est de la principauté de Liège; au deuxième, de gueules à la fasce d'argent, qui est du duché de Bouillon; au troisième d'argent, à trois lions couronnés de sinop­le, qui est du marquisat de Franchimont; au quatrième, burelé d'or et de gueules de dix pièces, qui est du comté de Looz. Enté en pointe, d'or à trois huchets de gueules enguichés et virolés d'argent, qui est du comté de Hornes.

       2° Flandre-Orientale. D'or au lion de sable armé et lampassé de gueules.

       3° Flandre-Occidentale, mi-parti, au premier, d'or gironné d'azur de six pièces à l'écusson de gueules en abime; au deuxième, d'or au lion au lion de sable armé et lampassé de gueules.

       4° Anvers, mi-parti, au premier, de gueules à trois tours, deux et une, entretenues par trois courtines, les deux tours de face, surm­ontées de deux mains, l'une en bande et l'autre en barre, le tout d'argent, maçonné et appaumé de sable, au chef de l'Empire, qui est du marquisat du St. Empire; au deuxième, d'or, à trois pals de gueules, à l'écusson d'or posé en abime, chargé d'une aigle éployée de sable, qui est de la seigneurie de Malines; terminé en plaine sous le tout, d'argent au pal d'azur, qui est de la seigneurie de Turnhout.

       A senestre: 1° Hainaut, écartelé au premier et quatrième d'or au lion de sable armé et lampassé de gueules: au deuxième et troisième d'or, au lion de gueules armé et lampassé d'azur.

       2° Limbourg, d'argent au lion de gueules, à la queue fourchue en sautoir, armé, lampassé et couronné d'or.

       3° Luxembourg, d'argent, à cinq fasces d'azur, au lion de gueules, à la queue fourchue, couronné d'or, brochant sur le tout.

       4° Namur, d'or, au lion de sable armé et lampassé de gueules, au bâton de gueules brochant sur le tout.

       Devise. L'union fait la force (Eendragt maekt magt) en lettres d'or sur un ruban de gueules liseré de sable.



Petit Sceau de l’Etat.


De sable au lion d'or armé et lampassé de gueules, sommé de la couronne royale d'or fourrée de gueules aux bandelettes d'argent bordées et houppées d'or.

L'écu entouré du collier de l'ordre de Léopold, accompagné de deux sceptres d'or posés en sautoir, à dextre, à la main de justice, et à senestre, au lion de l'écu.

Devise: L'union fait la force (Eendragt maekt magt) en lettres d'or sur un ruban de gueules liseré de sable.


In the following centuries several heraldic devices were designed based on these larger and smaller seals of state of 1837.



Larger Achievement  of Belgium

By Roger Harmignies, 1961 [25]



Medial achievement of state

Seal of  State  dd. 1841 and 1847. A.R.A. Brussel inv. nr. 28001


Arms with lion, crowned helmet, collar, lions with banners for supporters and motto on a mantle.

Legend: leopold premier roi des belges.


Medial Achievement  of Belgium

Royal cyphers and signature of Leopold III

Grand Serment Royal des Arbalétriers de Saint-Georges.

By Julien Bal,1934



Smaller arms of state (1837—present)


Arms, crown, main de justice and sceptre, collar, motto



Smaller arms of state (1911-1934)


Arms,  main de justice and sceptre, collar, mantle, crown,, motto



Augmented smaller arms of state (1865-1909)


Arms, collar, crown, mantle strewn with lions and bordure of oak-leaves, motto


The circular form and mantle are copied from the arms of Napoleon III (1852-’70)



Arms of state

Arms, crown, motto



Seal of state of Belgium




House of Sachsen Coburg

Leopold I



Flag of the Groote Harmonie, 1834.

Sted. Mus. Broodhuis, Brussel


Achievement of Leopold I:

Arms: ¼: I&IV: ¼: 1&4 England, 2, Scotland, 3 Ireland,. II&III: Saxony. On an escutcheon in nombril point: Belgium.

Crown: A  Royal crown

Order: Collar and cross of the Order of  Leopold


Supporters: A sceptre and a Main de Justice and six national flags, their staffs crested of the Belgian Lion, in saltire


The crowned royal cypher in the four corners


Stallplate of Leopold I as a Knight of the Order of the Seraphim


Royal Cypher


Leopold II




Royal Cypher


Albert I


The lesser achievement of Belgium, a small shield of Saxony added on the shoulder of the lion.







Leopold III

King 1934-1950

Charles Count of Flanders regent 1944-50


Leopold III  reigned as the King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of the heir apparent, his son Baudouin. From 1944 until 1950, Leopold's brother, count Charles of Flanders,  served as prince regent while Leopold was declared unable to reign. Leopold's controversial actions during the  World War II resulted in a political crisis known as the Royal Question. In 1950, the debate about whether Leopold could resume his royal functions escalated. Following a referendum, Leopold was allowed to return from exile to Belgium, but the continuing political instability pressured him to abdicate in 1951.


Royal Cypher


WWII 1940-1944


King Leopold III and Minister of Natonal Defence General Denis

Both in Uniform of Lieutenant Général

Cap of General Officers and Rank insignia (collar patch and shoulder board)  of a Belgian Lieutenant General


Prince Charles of Flanders, Regent, 1944-‘50

ÆSee also: Vlaanderen


The Belgian Government in exile 1940-‘44

On the wall the achievement of Belgium (without banners)


The Belgian government in London (Gouvernement belge à Londres / Belgische regering in Londen), also known as the Pierlot IV Government, was the government in exile of Belgium between October 1940 and September 1944 during World War II. After the invasion of Belgium by Germany in May 1940, the Belgian government, under Prime Minister Hubert Pierlot, fled first to Bordeaux and then to London, where it established itself as the only legitimate representation of Belgium to the Allies.


Emblem of  Secret Army


The Secret Army (Armée Secrète or AS, / Geheim Leger, or  GL) was the largest group within the Belgian Resistance active during the German occupation of Belgium in World War II. Founded in August 1940 as the Belgian Legion, the Secret Army changed its name on a number of occasions during its existence, adopting its final appellation in June 1944. Politically, the group was dominated by right-wing conservatives and royalists and incorporated many former officers from the defeated Belgian Army. Though relations were sometimes strained, the Secret Army enjoyed the closest relations with the Belgian government in exile in London of any large resistance movement.


Collaborating Organizations


Arms of the Deutsch-Vlämische Arbeitsgemeinschaft ´De Vlag´  (1936-´38 / 1941-´44)


The Reichsgau Flandern existed from 15. 12 1944

 (Captain in German exile: Dr. Jef van de Wiele)

Arms and sleeve patch of the

Legion Wallonie 1941-´45


The Reichsgau Wallonien, existed from 08. 12. 1944 (Captain in German exile: Léon Degrelle)






Royal Cypher


Albert II


King 1993-21.07-2013


Royal Cypher



Foto inbel -J.P. van der Elst.


Het Belgisch Vorstenpaar.

HH.MM. Koning Albert II en Koningin Paola.


De koning draagt de distinctieven van Luitenant Generaal en de versierselen van het Grootkruis van de Leopoldsorde (België, 11 juli 1832).


Philippe (Leopold Lodewijk Maria)


King 21.07.2013-present


Royal Cypher


Senate / House of Representatives




emblem and chairs with Belgian Lion



House of Representatives

Emblem and hall with green carpet decorated with achievements of two-bladed fasces supporterd by belgian lions


The  device symbolizes the rights of the people supported by the Belgian lion (senate).


State Security Service



The State Security Service (VSSE) (Veiligheid van de Staat; Sûreté de l'État) is the Belgian intelligence and security agency. Established in 1830, it is the oldest intelligence service except for the Vatican's. The State Security is a civilian agency under the authority of the Ministry of Justice


The Arms of the Communities.

The current language communities in Belgium each have their own arms. They were adopted after the establishment of the Belgian Federation.


Dutch Culture Community


For the Culture Council for the Dutch Culture Community, a flag was adopted by decree of 6 July 1973. This one was yellow with a black lion with red tongue and claws. The use of this flag goes back to 1893 (except of course of the use made by the Flemish Counts of the lion’s banner and the standard in the state arms). In 1985 the Flemish Community was confirmed in the use of this flag.  [26]

Failed was to establish a coat of arms in 1973. Nevertheless, the ancient coat of arms of Flanders, plus five black five-pointed stars, was placed on stamps. The stars represent the five Dutch speaking provinces in the Community. On the shield is the Belgian (heraldic) royal crown. [27]) This same arms were used by the Flemish Community in accordance with the Decree of the Flemish Council of 30 March 1988. ) It did not correspond with the flag on which the stars are missing. In the end, the coat of arms of the Flemish community was established by decree of 7 November 1990 as a black lion with red tongue and claws on a golden field.






The decree about the arms reads:


Belgisch Staatsblad 6.XII.1990


Decreet houdende vaststelling van het wapen, de vlag, het volkslied en de feestdag van de Vlaamse gemeenschap.


De Vlaamse Raad heeft aangenomen en wij, Executieve, bekrachtigen hetgeen volgt:

Artikel 1. Dit decreet regelt een in artikel 59bis van de Grondwet bedoelde aangelegenheid.

Art. 2. De Vlaamse Gemeenschap heeft een wapen, een vlag, een volks­lied en een feestdag.

Art. 3. De Vlaamse Gmeenschap heeft als wapen: in goud een leeuw van sabel, geklauwd en getongd van keel.

Art. 4. De vlag van de Vlaamse gemeenschap is geel met een zwarte leeuw, rood geklauwd en getongd.

Art. 5. Het volkslied van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap bestaat in de eerste twee strofen van de «De Vlaamse Leeuw» op tekst van Hippoliet van Peene en muziek van Karel Miry.

Art. 6. De feestdag van de Vlaamse Gmeenschap is 11 juli.

Art. 7. Het decreet van 13 april 1988 tot vaststelling van het wapen, de vlag, het volkslied en de feestdag van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap wordt opgeheven.

Art. 8. Dit decreet treedt in werking op 16 oktober 1990.

Konigen dit decreet af, bevelen dat het in het Belgisch Staatsblad zal worden bekendgemaakt.


Brussel, 7 november 1990

De Gemeenschapsminister van Cultuur,                                         De Voorzitter van de Vlaamse Executieve

                  P. DEWAEL                                                                    G.GEENS



French-speaking Community


The coat of arms of the French-speaking Community was adopted by decree of 3 July 1991. It is a red rooster hardi on a yellow shield. It is derived from the arms used in Wallonia since 1913. [28]



The decree about the arms reads:


Moniteur Belge - 15.11.1991


F. 91 - 3325

3 Juillet 1991

Décret déterminant le jour de fête et les emblèmes propres à la Communauté française de Belgique


        Le Conseil de la Communauté française a adopté et Nous, Exécutif, sanctionnons ce qui suit:

        Article 1er. La fête de la Communauté française de Belgique est célébrée chaque année le 27 septembre.

        Art 2. Les armoiries de la Communauté française sont d'or au coq hardi de gueules; elles sont représentées conformément au modèle figurant en annexe 1 du présent décret. Le coq hardi de ces armoiries peut être utilisé isolément comme symbole de la Communauté.


        Art. 3. Le sceau de la Communauté française porte le coq hardi de ses armoiries avec la légende « COMMUNAUTE FRANÇAISE DE BELGIQUE ». Cette légende est inscrite entre deux filets dans le sens des aiguil­les d'une montre conformément au modèle figurant en annexe 2 du présent décret.

        Art. 4. Le drapeau de la Communauté française est jaune au coq hardi rouge.

        Conformément au modèle figurant en annexe 3 du présent décret, ce drapeau a les proportions deux: trois; le coq hardi est inscrit dans un cercle non apparent dont le centre coïncide avec celui du tablier, dont le diamètre est egal au guindant et dont la circonférence passe par les extrémités des pennes supérieures et inférieures de la queu et par l'extrémité de la patte levée.

        L'horizontalité du coq est déterminé par une droite non apparente joignant le sommet de sa crête à l'extrémité de la penne supérieure de la queue.


[Art.s. 5 - 7]


Promulgeons le présent décret, ordonnons qu'il soit publié au Moniteur Belge.


Bruxelles, le 3 juillet 1991.

Le Ministre-Président de l'Exécutif de la Communauté française,

chargé de la Culture et de la Communication


Le Ministre de l'Enseignement, de la Formation, du Sport

du Tourisme et des Relations internationales,

        J.-P. GRAFE

Le Ministre de l'Education et de la Recherche scientifique,


Le Ministre des Affaires sociales et de la Santé,




German-speaking community.


A completely new coat of arms was designed for the German-speaking community. It is white with a red lion within a hem of nine blue cinquefoils with white hearts. The arms is an augmentation of the coat of arms of Limburg. The five cinquefoils represent the nine municipalities of the German-speaking Community. Its color is derived from the Luxembourg beams (a large part of the area belonged to Luxembourg for centuries). The five leaves are also explained as the flowers of a special kind of medicinal gentian that occurs in the Hohes Venn. There is a royal crown on the shield. The arms were established by decree of 1 October 1990. [29]



The decree about the arms reads


Belgisch Staatsblad 15.XI.1990


                                      DEUTSCHSPRACHIGE GEMEINSCHAFT

D 90 - 2842                                                                                                                      -


1. OKTOBER 1990. - Dekret betreffend die Einführung des Festtages,

des Wappens und der Fahne der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft


       Der Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft hat das Folgende angenommen und Wir, Executive, sanktionieren es:

Artikel 1. Die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft feiert ihren Festtag jedes Jahr am 15. November.

Art. 2. Die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft führt folgendes Wappen:

       In Silber ein roter Löwe begleitet von neun blauen Fünfblättern, von einer Königskrone überhöht.

       Die Fahne der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft zeigt auf weißem Grund einen roten Löwen, begleitet von neun blauen Fünfblättern.

       Die Farben der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft sind weiß und rot in waagrechter Stellung.

Art. 3. Die Fahne der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft wird am 15. November an den öffentlichen Gebäuden im deutschsprachigen Gebiet Belgiens, außerhalb dieses Gebietes an den Gebäuden aufgezogen, die aufgrund ihrer Tätigkeit der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft zugerech­net werden können oder ihr zweitweilig zur Verfügung stehen.

       Im deutschsprachigen Gebiet Belgiens wird sie an Amtsgebäuden außerdem unter den gleichen Bedingungen und an den gleichen Tagen wie die belgische Nationalfahne aufgezogen.


       Wir fertigen das vorliegende Dekret aus und ordnen an, daß es durch das Belgische Staatsblatt veröffentlicht wird.


       Gegeben zu Eupen, den 1. Oktober 1990.

Der Vorsitzender der Executive der Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft


Der Gemeinschaftsminister für Unterricht, Ausbildung, kulturelle Animation und Medien,


Der Gemeinschaftsminister für Jugend, Sport, Erwachsenenbildung und Soziales,



Brussels-Capital Region


Finally, the emblem of the Brussels-Capital Region was adopted by decree of 5 March 1991. It is blue with a white-rimmed yellow or golden stylized iris.






The proposition about the arms reads:


A-106/1-90/91 [30]




27 FEBRUARI 1991



 houdende de keuze van het embleem en de vlag van het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest




Dames en Heren,

Het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest zou over een embleem en een vlag moeten beschikken die zijn identiteit bevestigen tegenover zijn bevolking en deze van de andere Gewesten en Gemeenschappen in Belgie, alsmede tegenover het buitenland. In zijn resolutie van 17 oktober 1990 besloot de Brusselse Hoofdstedelijke Raad bijna eenparig de iris tot symbool van het Gewest te kiezen en de definitieve grafische voorstelling ervan op voorstel van het Bureau in uitgebreide samenstelling later goed te keuren. De leden van het Bureau in uitgebreide samenstelling, die te dien einde de nodige maatregelen troffen, hebben nu de eer een grafische voorstelling voor te leggen die aan de estetische eisen voldoet, waarbij de gestyleerde bloem ontegenzeglijk herkenbaar blijft en haar waarde in de loop der tijden kan behouden. De leden van het Bureau in uitgebreide samenstelling zijn ter zake bijzonder opgetogen over de keuze van de iris. De moerasiris (Iris pseudacorus), een plant met grote gele bloemen, kwam in een ver verleden inderdaad veelvuldig voor in het Brusselse dat bekend stond om zijn moerassige bodem, de natuurlijke groeiplaats van deze plant. De iris komt trouwens ook voor op talrijke grafische of andere voorstellingen van  Brussel of van de hand van Brusselse kunstenaars. Reeds in de oudheid had de iris een symbolische waarde : in de Griekse mythologie is Iris de boodschapster van de goden; zij verplaatst zich op haar regenboog en blijft steeds geschoeid om de boodschappen onmiddellijk te kunnen bezorgen. De iris biedt daarenboven het voordeel niet te doen denken aan een of andere gemeente van het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, schept geen verwarring met de emblemen van de Staat of van andere entiteiten, en stelt de Brusselaars in staat zich erin te herkennen. In de heraldiek en in de vlaggenkunde zijn bloemen tenslotte veelgebruikte iconografische elementen. Rekening houdend met de rol van Brussel in de uitbouw van Europa, zou het, wat de kleuren betreft, aangewezen zijn de kleuren van het embleem en van de vlag te doen overeenstemmen met deze van de Europese vlag, namelijk geel op blauw. Tenslotte stellen we voor dat de vlag wordt gehesen op dezelfde voorwaarden en op dezelfde dagen als de Belgische vlag en dit op alle openbare gebouwen die betrokken worden door de organen van het Gewest en de instellingen die onder zijn bevoegdheid vallen, met name de pararegionale instellingen of de gemeentelijke diensten.




Didier van EYLL

Nathalie de T'SERCLAES

Marie NAGY







27 FEVRIER 1991



portant fixation de 1'embleme et du drapeau de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale




Mesdames, Messieurs

II s'indique que la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale dispose d'un embleme et d'un drapeau qui consacrent son ideritite tant vis-a-vis de sa population que vis-a-vis de la population des autres Regions et Communautes de Belgique et de 1'etranger. Par sa resolution du 17 octobre 1990, Ie Conseil de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale a decide a la quasiunanimite de choisir 1'iris comme symbole de la Region- et d'en adopter Ie graphisme definitif sur proposition ulterieure de son Bureau elargi. Les membres du Bureau elargi, ayant pris les mesures necessaires a cet effet, ont a present 1'honneur de proposer.une representation graphique qui correspond aux exigences de 1'esthetique tout en offrant une stylisation de la fleur qui reste parfaitement reconnaissable et susceptible de garder toute sa valeur au fil du temps. Les membres du Bureau elargi se sont felicites a cette occasion du choix de 1'iris, etant donne qu'une variete de cette plante, aux grandes fleurs jaunes, est precisement 1'iris des marais (Iris pseudacorus), alors qu'on sait que Ie sol de Bruxelles etait en des temps recules connu pour etre marecageux et pour presenter cette plante dans sa flore naturelle. L'iris se retrouve par ailleurs dans de multiples representations picturales ou autres ayant trait a Bruxelles ou dues a des artistes bruxellois. Deja dans 1'antiquite, 1'iris revetait une valeur symbolique : la mythologie grecque presente Iris comme la messagere des dieux se depla9ant sur son arc-en-ciel, restant toujours chaussee afin de delivrer les messages dans 1'instant. D'autre part, 1'iris a 1'avantage de ne rappeler aucune commune en particulier appartenant a la Region de BruxellesCapitale, de ne preter a aucune confusion avec les emblemes de 1'Etat ou d'autres entites, tout en permettant aux Bruxellois de s'y reconnaitre. Enfin, les fleurs sont des elements iconographiques courants en matiere heraldique ou vexillologique. En ce qui concerne les couleurs, compte tenu du r61e de Bruxelles dans la construction europeenne, il serait heureux que celles de 1'embleme et du drapeau se rapprochent des couleurs du drapeau europeen, a savoir jaune sur bleu. Enfin, nous proposons que Ie drapeau soit arbore aux memes conditions et aux memes jours que Ie drapeau beige a tous les edifices publics ou sont installes soit les organes de la Region, soit des institutions qui ressortissent de sa competence, comme par exemple les organismes pararegionaux ou les services communaux.




Didier van EYLL

Nathalie de T'SERCLAES

Marie NAGY






Artlkel 1 De iris is het embleem van het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest.


Artikel 2 De vlag van het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest is blauw met een gele iris omboord van wit.


Artikel 3 De vlag van het Brusselse Hoofdstedelijk Gewest wordt gehesen op de openbare gebouwen die onder zijn bevoegdheid vallen, op dezelfde voorwaarden en op dezelfde dagen als de Belgische vlag.


Artikel 4 De voorstellingen in kleur en zwart-wit van het embleem en van de vlag zijn opgenomen als bijiage 1 tot 7 van deze ordonnantie. De originelen, met de grafische normen voor de reproduktie, worden bewaard op de Griffie van de Brusselse Hoofdstedelijke Raad.


Artikel 5 Deze ordonnantie wordt van kracht bij haar bekendmaking in het Belgisch Staatsblad


Brussel, 27 februari 1991.




Didier van EYLL

Nathalie de T'SERCLAES

Marie NAGY






Article 1 La Region de Bruxelles-Capitale a pour embleme 1'iris.


Article 2 Le drapeau de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale est bleu a 1'iris jaune lisere de blanc.


Article 3 Le drapeau de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale est arbore aux edifices publics qui ressortissent la Region, dans les memes conditions et aux memes jours que le drapeau beige.


Article 4 Les representations en couleurs et en noir et blanc de 1'embleme et du drapeau sont celles des annexes 1 & 7 a la presente ordonnance, dont les originaux, avec les normes graphiques pour la reproduction, sont conserves au Greffe du Conseil de la Region de Bruxelles Capitale.


Article 5 La presente ordonnance entre en vigueur a la date de sa publication au Moniteur beige




Bruxelles, Ie 27 fevrier 1991.




Didier van EYLL

Nathalie de T'SERCLAES

Marie NAGY







Until 1998 the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie, the Judicial police of the public prosecutor (1919-2000), the municipal police and some smaller police services performed the police services in Belgium.

On 23 May 1998 the government decided to reorganise the police services into a single local police services  supported by a federal police. This new organization  was effectuated on 1 February 2001 when the Rijkswacht. together with the other existing police forces in Belgium, was abolished and replaced by the Federal Police and the Local Police.


Gemeentepolitie / Police Municipal



Arms (1953-2001)

Cap badge (1953-2001)


Rijkswacht / Gendarmerie


The Gendarmerie or Rijkswacht was the former paramilitary police force of Belgium.

A National Gendarmerie was founded in France by law of 16 February 1791.

On 30 oktober 1795 brigade general Wirion, then commander of the National Gendarmerie of the army at the Saber and the Meuse was charged by Paris to extend the Gendarmerie with new divisions for the Belgian territory. His new organisation was approved by decree of 10 July 1796 

In the Kingdom of the Netherlands the service was renamed in (Koninklijke-) Marechaussee but in the Kingdom of Belgium again renamed in Gendarmerie Nationale by law of 26 December 1830. 

It became a civilian police organisation in 1992, a status retained until 1 January 2001, when it was, together with the other existing police forces in Belgium, abolished and replaced by the Federal Police and the Local Police.





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The new police organisation was introduced on 1 april 2001. Most gendarmes came into the service of the local police and most employees of the BOB’s and of the general staff of the Rijkswacht changed.to the Federal Police The direction of the federal police has always been in the hands of the former officers of the rijkswacht.



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The  Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD) / Service Général du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS)), is the Belgian military intelligence service under responsibility of the Minister of National Defense. It is one of two Belgian intelligence services, together with the civilian Belgian State Security Service.



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 © Hubert de Vries  1905; 2019-01-31





[1] From: Vries, Hubert de: Wapens van de Nederlanden. De historische ontwikkeling van de heraldische symbolen van Nederland, België, hun provincies en Luxemburg. Amsterdam, 1995. Pp.48-65.

[2] See: Nedertland

[3] Keymeulen, A. van: Munten van de Zuidelijke Nederlanden van Albrecht en Isabella tot Willem I. Brussel, 1981. in the crest of the spanish kings the lion was given an orb in his dexter claw. The color was changed into purple so that the lion could be thought to be the lion of Leon To the crown on its head a hoop was added.    

[4] Duerloo, L.: Privileges uitbeelden. De zuidnederlandse wapenkoningen en de wapenkunde in de eeuw van de verlichting. Thesis Kath. Univ. Leuven, 1986. Noot 42. Tourneur Nicodème, M.: Denis Waterloos, graveur de sceaux (1628-1715). In: Revue belge de numismatique et de sigillographie, 1953, pp. 92-101 pl. VIII.

[5] Albrecht became a cardinal in 1577 and vice-king of van Portugal in 1583. His coat of arms can be found for example on a map of Goa in the "Itinerario" of I.H. van Linschooten (Amsterdam, 1596). The arms quarterly of Hungary and Bohemia with escutcheon Spain is covered here with a royal crown and a cardinals’ hat with 2 x 6 "fiocchi”. (tassels). The same coat of arms Albrecht bore after his resignment as a cardinal and before his wedding with Isabella, of course without cardinals’hat.

[6] In some cases also by two angels or by Justitia and Victoriarepresented as two ladies in classical dress with sword and palm-leaf .

[7] Keymeulen, A. van: op.cit. pp. 143-145. The armorial bearings in the Netherlands and Spain only differed in the showpieces. In Spain the french tradition with angels for supporters and a mantle was followed.  See: Garma y Duran, D.F.X.: Adarga Catalana. Barcelona, 1754. T. III, pp. 181-188 & Pl. 20. Philip V also introduced the Colums of Hercules of Charles V there.

[8] On his counter seal for the Council of Brabant, 1719. Tourneur Nicodème, M.: Jean de la Court graveur de sceaux (1715-1725). In: Revue belge de Numismatique, 1940-'46 pp. 110-117 Pl. III, 2.

[9] Keymeulen, A. van. op.cit. 1981. In the larger arms of  Charles VI of 1715 the Netherland were represented in the third great quarter with the arms of Brabant, the markgraviate of Antwerpen and Flanders (together with the arms of Swabia and the escutcheon of Burgundy.  Gall, F. Österreichsiche Wappenkunde (Wenen/Keulen, 1977), p. 46 and table 6. With his armorial bearings in Spain he let himself be inspired, like in the Netherlands, by Charles V. He copied with that the arms of 1524, including the two-headed eagle as a supporter. Of the crown he even omitted for a long time the usual hoops to make he resemblance even greater. The Piles of Hercules with the motto "PLVS OULTRE", being the personal emblem of Charles V and which usually were added to his imperial and royal achievements  he omitted . They came back as a special emblem of the American possessions. The achievement is represented by Butkens, C. Trophées de Brabant. 1724. Tom. 2. p. 13 A.

[10] The full titles of Charles VI in Gall, F. op.cit. p. 47. The ones of  Maria Theresia  in 1752 can be found  in Tourneur-Nicodème, M.: Titres et armoiries pour les sceaux des Conseils de Justice sous Marie-Thérese. In: Revue belge de numismatique et de sigillographie, 1937, pp. 91-99, Pl. VI. The larger title of  1766 in Gall, F. op.cit. p. 50.

[11] Tourneur-Nicodeme, M.: Les sceaux du Conseil de Brabant sous le regne de Marie Therese. In: Revue belge de numismatique et de sigillographie. 1947, pp. 117-124.Apart from that the arms of the courts of justice differed considerably from those of the chancelleries.   

[12] By the Austrian War of Succession, ending in 1748 and whihc restored the sovereignty of Maria Theresia in the Netherlands, the seal with the eagle, perhaps already planned after Francis I had been crowned an Emperor, could only be cut in 1752.

[13]Duerloo, L. op.cit. noot 57: Algemeen Rijksarchief Brussel. O.G.R., carton 9734: Decreet Gouverneur-Generaal aan de Geheime Raad.. 1765. B.D.A., H.K., 163, dl. 2, fol. 267r-271r: dossier wijziging wapen Maria Theresia, 1766. Id., dl.2, fol. 148v. Picture coat of arms of  Maria Theresia (1780); and fol. 152r. Titles Maria Theresia (1780).

[14] Duerloo, L. op.cit. noot. 57. En: Tourneur Nicodeme, M.: L'élaboration du contre-sceau du grand-sceau de majesté pour le Pays Bas, 1780-1781. In: Revue belge de numismatique et de sigillographie, 1955, pp. 121-132, pl. III-IV.

[15] Tourneur-Nicodeme, M.: Grands-sceaux pour le gouvernement des Pays-Bas autrichiens. In: Revue belge de numismatique et de sigillographie, 1954, pp. 107-112, pl. VII-IX.

[16] Ronkard, L. Le Lion Belge et nos Etendards. Histoire millenaire. In: Folklore Brabançon, 1964 p. 105.

[17] Duerloo, L.: De kleuren en symbolen van de Brabantse Omwenteling. In: Bots, H. & W. Mijnhardt (red).: De droom van de Revolutie. Amsterdam, 1988. Some flags from that time with the Lion of the Generality are preserved in the Museum of the Army in Bruxelles.

[18] Servais, Max: Armorial des Provinces et des Communes de la Belgique. Luik, 1955, p. 35. Harmignies, R.: Les emblèmes nationaux de la Belgique. In: Le Parchemin. 1960, pp. 96-103.

[19] See: Great Britain and Northern Ireland

[20] Harmignies R.: Les armoiries de Leopold 1er. In: Le Parchemin. 1960, pp. 96-103. Apart from on  the banner of the Harmonie (represented) the achievement can also be found on the stallplates of the knight of the Elefantenorden  in the chapel of  Slot Frederiksborg in Denemark.

[21] Harmignies, R.: Les emblèmes nationaux de la Belgique. In: Receuil du Vme Congres des Sciences Genealogiques et Heraldiques. Stockholm, 1961. In 1841a seal of stae was cut with the greater achievement but without the. This eal was only used in the fourties of the 19th century. (Staatszegel dd. 1841 en 1847. A.R.A. Brussel inv. nr. 28001: Wapen met leeuw, gekroonde helm, ordeketen, leeuwen met banieren als schildhouders en devies, geplaatst op een wapenmantel. Omschrift: leopold premier roi des belges.)

[22] Maurice, Jean Baptiste: Le Blason des armoiries de tous les chevaliers de l'Ordre de la Toison d'Or. par -  Héraut et Roy d'Armes de sa Majesté Catholique. Den Haag, 1667.  CCXXXI

[23]  Tourneur Nicodème, M.: Denis Waterloos, graveur des sceaux (1628-1715). In: Revue Belge de Numismatique, 1953 pp. 91-101

[24] There is some doubt about the dating of the painting as Princess Marianne (1810-1883), the daughter of William is represented at an age of about 20, which she was in 1830.

[25]  Receuil du Ve Congrès International des Sciences Géné alogique et Héraldique à Stockholm. 1960. p. 217.

[26]) Decreet van 22 mei 1973, art 2: De Nederlandse Cultuurgemeenschap heeft als vlag: in goud een leeuw van sabel, geklauwd en getongd van keel. In: Belgisch Staatsblad, 12 september 1973. Ministerieel besluit tot vaststelling van de afbeelding in kleur van de vlag van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap. In: Belgisch Staatsblad 11.VII.1985, pp. 10285-10289.

[27]) Warlop, E.: Het zegel van de Cultuurraad voor de Nederlandse Cultuurgemeenschap. In: De Vlaamse Stam, 1972, pp. 113-115.

[28]) By decree of 20 april 1913. The motto was fixed then: Wallon Toujours, the war-cry as "Liberté".  Springael, J.-P.: Symbolique et Folklore du Coq. Fondation Albnert Marinus A.S.B.L. 1993. 

[29] For the considerations about the choice of the arms: Ontwerp van Decreet van de "Rat der Deutschsprachichen Gemeinschaft"; 131 (1989-1990) Nr 1. Sitzungsperiode 1989-1990, dd. 31.VII­I.1990.

[30] http://weblex.brussels/data/crb/doc/1990-91/100108/images.pdf


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