Last modified: 2014-10-04 by andrew weeks
Keywords: west friesland | lion passant |
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image by Westfries Genootschap.
The Coat of Arms of Friesland was: azure
two lions passant in plae or, between a semée of billets of the
same. This was said to be derived from the arms of old King Radboud (c.
800 A.D.). The number of billets was confined to 7 in the 1570's, although
it was only used for Friesland west of the Lauwers.
Essentially the Arms of West-Friesland is the same, but the lions have become leopards (now lions passant guardant), and the number of billets is restricted to 5. It is retained as the sinister half of the arms of the province of Noord-Holland, where it is blazoned as "seme of horiontally placed billets or, two lions passant guardant in pale of the same."
Source: Encyclopedie van Friesland, 1958
On the Westfriezendag 2008 the mayor of the city of Hoorn presented a Westfriese flag to Ina Broekhuizen-Slot. Previously the flag had been checked on its authenticity, and it was indeed authenticated. The flag is a reflection of the old Frisian arms as it occurred in the Hollandse Kroniek (1405-1409), as written down by Heraut Gelre. On that arms are two lions regardant surrounded by white pennies; West-Friesland continued continued that arms, but the white billets (pennies) became silver. The number was later reduced to 5 and the billets got the same color as the lions. The flag became a banner of arms.
Now the big question is: what does the number 5 here represent?
The number of cities? But there are only 4 of them: Schagen, Medemblik, Enkhuizen and Hoorn.
The number of "ambachten"? There are only 4 as well: Geestmerambacht, Schager- en Niedorper Kogge, De Vier Noorder Koggen en Drechterland.
People who know the answer should write to: het secretariaat van het Westfries Genootschap: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spotted by Stefan Lambrechts, 21 Jan 2010
Note that the flag below has 9 billets, and that
the lions are not guardant (caboshed); this is the way in which it was
frequently depicted on old flagcharts: it may
represent Friesland west of the Weser, short: West-Friesland...
Jarig Bakker, 25 Jan 2010
Two gold lions passant, facing towards the fly, one above the other,
on a blue background. West Friesland is a region in the north of Noord-Holland
(Source: Dutch atlas made by Delisle in 1739)
James Dignan, 14 Nov 1996