Country : Belgium
The above arms were granted on July 1, 1986. previously the arms were granted on October 20, 1819 and these arms were confirmed on February 26, 1842.
The arms were first officially granted by the Count of Vlaanderen in 1304. The lion is most likely derived from the lion of the Counts of Vlaanderen, but shown in a different colour (blue instead of black). The colours are known since the 14th century.
The oldest known seal of Brugge dates from 1199. It shows a fortress and some fleur-de-lis. The second seal shows a similar composition. The arms first appear on the third seal, known since the late 13th century. The seal shows still a fortress or city gate, but in the base of the seal is a small shield with the bars and lion. In the seal from 1289 the number of bars was increased form 6 to 8. The meaning of the bars, however is not known.
The crest shows a Gothic letter B with a crown. This logo was first used by the city in the 14th century and was later placed in the crest.
The lion supporter is derived from Vlaanderen, the bear is derived from the symbol used by a chivalrous jousting society, which was very popular among the public. The bear was a very popular symbol, but was not part of the arms until the 16th century. All seals between the late 14th and 19th century show two lions as supporters.
In the 17th century the motto SPQB, or Senatus PopulusQue Brugensis (council and people of Brugge) was added. The motto was derived from the motto of classical Rome, and indicated the city's administrative and judicial autonomy.
The arms in the Wapen- en Vlaggenboek van Gerrit Hesman (1708)
The arms in the Koffie Hag/Café Hag albums +/- 1930
The arms on a Dutch Willem II cigar band
The arms on a police badge (source)
Literature: Servais, 1955; Information leaflet issued by the Brugge council, 1987; Viaene-Wouters and Warlop, 2002. Older images used with permission of Dexia Bank. Image of seal obtained from the Stadsarchief Brugge (city archives).
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