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Coat of arms of Norway
Coat of Arms of Norway.svg
Details
Adopted 1280
Crest royal crown
Escutcheon gules, a lion rampant or, crowned and bearing an axe with blade argent
Royal coat of arms of Norway
Royal CoA of Norway.svg
Details
Adopted 1905
Crest on a royal crown a demi-lion rampant or, crowned and bearing an axe with blade argent
Escutcheon gules, a lion rampant or, crowned and bearing an axe with blade argent
Orders Order of St. Olav

The Coat of Arms of Norway is a crowned, golden lion rampant holding an axe with an argent blade, on a crowned, triangular and red escutcheon. Its elements originate from personal insignias for the royal house in the High Middle Ages, thus being among the oldest in Europe.

Contents

History

Magnus Barefoot (1093-1103) was the first Norwegian king to use an heraldic lion in his standard. Håkon the Old (1217-1263) placed the lion on escutcheon. In 1280 a crown and a silver axe was added to the lion in King Eirik Magnusson's insignia. The axe is the martyr axe of St. Olav, the weapon said to have killed him in the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030.

The design of the Norwegian arms has changed through the years, following changing heraldic fashions. In the late Middle Ages, the axe handle gradually grew longer and came to resemble a halberd. The handle was usually curved in order to fit the shape of escutcheon (or the changing union quarterings) preferred at the time, and also to match the shape of coins. The halberd was officially discarded and the shorter axe reintroduced by royal decree in 1844, when an authorised design was instituted for the first time. In 1905 the official design for royal and government arms was again changed, this time reverting to the medieval pattern, with a triangular escutcheon and a more upright lion. The painter Eilif Peterssen was responsible for the design. The present design was introduced in 1937, but slightly modified with royal approval 20 May 1992.

The coat of arms is always to be displayed surmounted with the royal crown. During the political and constitutional conflicts of the late 19th century, republican anti-union liberal forces could use an uncrowned shield as an emblem, as can be seen on the banner of Kristiania Folkevæpningssamlag in the Oslo City Museum. During World War II the Quisling regime continued to use the lion coat of arms. In 1943 the design of the lion was modified, and the royal crown was replaced with an open medieval type of crown. The legitimate Norwegian government continued to use the coat of arms with the royal crown during exile.

According to the rules of heraldry, any design is acceptable and recognizable as the arms of Norway, provided it fits the blazon "gules a lion rampant or, crowned and bearing an axe with blade argent".

The Norwegian official blazon: "Ei upprett gull-løve på raud grunn med gullkrone på hovudet og gullskjeft sylvøks i framlabbane".

Royal Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of the royal house as well as the Royal Standard uses the lion design from 1905. The shield features the insignia of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav around it.

The shield is framed by a royal ermine robe, surmounted by the crown of Norway.

Historical versions

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National coats of arms

Coats of arms of regents

External links


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