Heraldry in Sweden Part 1

Sweden coat of arms
Sweden, Coats of Arms of each province above, is one of the European countries where an heraldic administration has been maintained , side by side with a democratic system of monarchical government. In Sweden heraldry was, until the mid 20th century, under the Riksheraldiker or King of Arms. The chief heraldic official is now known as the Statsheraldiker. The Riksheraldiker of Sweden registered the Coats of Arms for persons who were being made Barons, Counts or other nobles and the Coats of Arms so registered were incorporated in the patents issued by the Crown. The granting of arms and entry into the nobility were thus synchronized. In Sweden, as in England, Coats of Arms of burghers or citizens were unknown and are still unknown to the Crown. In Sweden Coats of Arms have only been granted to the nobility. With a strong German influence on Swedish commerce in ancient times it is obvious that citizens Arms were bound to penetrate into the trading communities of the Nation. But, owing to the fact that the Crown did not recognize such Arms these Coats of Arms, which burghers or citizens might have desired to adopt, were never allowed to take root. The most common use of such non-nobility Arms in Sweden were occasions where a person needed an heraldic device for a seal in connection with his business and later adopted it in the form of Coat of Arms. These arms could not be handed down to descendants however and disappeared upon the death of the bearer.

Sven Hedin coat of armsThe form that a typical patent of nobility and  Coat of Arms took can be summarized in the following extract from the grant of letters patent to the family of Hallenborg, May 6th 1720 --  “We Fredrik…hereby make known that …our faithful servant and judge over the hundreds of Oxie, Skytt, and Vemmenhőg in the province of Scania, our beloved Svante Hallenberg, who has obtained general praise for himself as a just judge of irreproachable and honourable demeanour…That we herewith and in virtue of these Our Letters Patent…bestow and give him…his wife and legitimate descendents…nobility and the following Coat of Arms, namely:” Since the institution of the House of Nobility came into being in1625 the patents of nobility invariably showed the Coat of Arms, with one remarkable exception and in this case it is the exception that proves the rule.  This exception was in the case of noted Central Asian explorer Sven Hedin in 1902. The Patent of Nobility that was issued to him included a statement to the effect that in addition to the admission to the nobility there was also included the authority to “ have and use that Coat of Arms which we on his proposal will graciously confirm separately “ A drawing of a Coat of Arms for Sven Hedin was actually approved by the King the following year and an image can be seen above

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