Coat of arms of Copenhagen
The heraldic city coat of arms of Copenhagen was bestowed upon the city in 1661 in recognition of the citizens’ valour during the Swedish siege of 1659 and their unwavering support for King Frederick III.
Brief History & Design
King Frederick III of Denmark granted the current form of the Copenhagen coat of arms on June 24, 1661, as a tribute to the city’s residents for their valiant defence against the Swedish siege and attack in 1658–1659. In addition to this honour, a royal letter of privilege bestowed upon the citizens of Copenhagen the same property ownership rights as the Danish nobility.
The central element of the complete coat of arms consists of three towers emerging from the water, a motif that also appeared on the town’s seal dating back to 1296. This watery theme harkens back to the city’s original name, “Havn,” which means “Harbour.” The towers on the left and right symbolize Absalon’s Castle, while the central tower originally depicted a church within the castle’s walls. However, by the 16th century, the central tower had shed its church-like appearance, instead featuring a gateway with a portcullis.
Frederick III’s version of the coat of arms altered the previous design by introducing a knight brandishing a raised sword in front of the gateway. Above the city gate, you can spot an oval with the king’s F3 monogram, both rendered in gold.
The grander version of the coat of arms includes three helmets, banners, and an extensive array of military equipment. An oversized golden crown appears above, although it is not physically attached to the central helmet. Two lions serve as supporters on either side of the central escutcheon.
The heraldic city coat of arms should never serve as a substitute for the city’s official coat of arms or primary emblem. Its use should be reserved for special and highly representative communications and should be used sparingly.
|Date of Grant||June 24, 1661|
|Granted By||King Frederick III of Denmark|
|Reason for Grant||In appreciation of Copenhagen citizens’ bravery during the Swedish siege in 1658–1659 and their support for King Frederick III.|
|Central Motif||Three towers rising above water, symbolizing the city’s original name, “Havn” (Harbour). The left and right towers represent Absalon’s Castle, with the central tower featuring a gateway.|
|Modification by Frederick III||Added a knight carrying a raised sword in front of the gateway. Included an oval with the king’s F3 cypher above the city gate, both elements in gold.|
|Greater Coat of Arms||Features three helmets, banners, military equipment, and an oversized golden crown above the central helmet. Two lions serve as supporters of the central escutcheon.|