Coat of arms of Norway

Coat Of Arms Of Norway

Coat Of Arms
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Coat of arms of Norway

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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. In Norway, the motif of the coat of arms is often called den norske løve; literally translated, “the Norwegian lion”.

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.


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...
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