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The University coat of arms

The coat of arms of the University of Groningen dates back to 1614. As part of the previous house style, the original coat of arms had already been slightly simplified. To make it better suited for size reduction and screen viewing, it has been simplified further in the new house style. This change has given the coat of arms a more open and spacious look. The coat of arms is an integral part of the logo and may only be used as a separate element in exceptional cases and only after approval by the House Style Project Bureau.

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Origin of the University’s coat of arms

The University coat of arms is derived from the arms of the province of Groningen. While an opened book has been added to it, the supporters (Dutch lions) have been omitted.

The province of Groningen was officially given its coat of arms by Royal Decree on 30 December 1947, but its design is much older. After the city of Groningen became a signatory to the Union of Utrecht (1594), the city and the surrounding area (the Ommelanden) were united into one province by signing a unification treaty on 17 February 1595. A provincial coat of arms was also designed.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the coat of arms of the province of Groningen is an amalgamation of the coats of arms of the city of Groningen and the Ommelanden. The shield of the provincial coat of arms has four quarters; the top left and bottom right quarters contain the city’s emblem, the other two that of the Ommelanden. The city coat of arms contains a double-headed black eagle placed on a golden shield. The body of the eagle carries a small silver shield with a green horizontal bar. The city’s coat of arms represented the regions where the city ruled: Gorecht, both Oldambts (Wold-Oldambt and Klei-Oldambt), Reiderland and Westerwolde.

The coat of arms of the Ommelanden, a silver shield with three oblique blue bars and eleven red hearts, was created in 1582 as a symbol of the independence of the Ommelanden. The three bars represent the three Ommelanden (Westerkwartier, Hunsingo and Fivelingo) and the eleven red hearts the subdivisions of these three Ommelanden (four in the Westerkwartier: Vredewold, Langewold, Humsterland and Middag; five in Hunsingo: de Marne, Halfambt, Oosterambt, Ubbega and Innersdijk; and two in Fivelingo: Hogeland and Duurswold).

Above the shield is a gold crown, five leaves and four pearls. It is supported on either side by a gold lion, the symbol of the Netherlands.

The University coat of arms was approved by the Estates of the Stad en Lande on 28 February 1615. It was initially used on the University’s grand and small seals. The coat of arms consists of the shield of the Stad en Lande of Groningen (now the province of Groningen). On it is an opened book with the text ‘ver/bum/do(mi ni ) lu/cer/na(pedibus nostris)’, which means ‘God's word is a lamp unto our feet’.

Last modified:23 August 2018 10.07 a.m.
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