Armorials & Wapenboeken

Collections of sixteenth century heraldry native to the Low Countries – or including significant numbers of heraldic arms from the region

Extant Low Countries Armorials

Listed in chronological order, beginning in the late 15th century and continuing through the mid 17th century.

1490 – Nassau-Vianden Armorial: Rather than displaying the heraldic arms of a specific region, this armorial is a heraldic record of the ancestors of Count Engelbrecht II of Nassau (1451-1504), a powerful nobleman in the Low Countries and great-uncle of William the Silent. Produced by herald Nassau-Vianden for count Engelbrecht II of Nassau (1451-1504)

c. 1515 – Armorial Münster / Niederländisches Wappenbuch: Collects 490 heraldic arms from across the Low Countries (primarily Holland, Hainaut, and Flanders) and German lands. In the collection of the Hoge Raad van Adel, the authority over nobility and heraldry, in the Netherlands. Not fully digitized.

  • Classification ID: HRvA, hs. coll., Inv.-Nr. 66

1557 – L’ancienne noblesse du contee de Flandres: A manuscript armorial created by the herald of Charles V. Written in French, it contains includes 557 heraldic arms from Flanders. As of May 2020, it does not appear to be digitzed or listed on the KBR website.

  • Classification ID: KBR ms. IV 1276
  • Author / Editor: Corneille Gaillard

c. 1550 – Manuscrit de Corneille Gaillard: Another manuscript armorial referenced in an announcement from the KBR’s aquisition of the other Galliard armorial above. As of May 2020, it does not appear to be digitized or listed on the KBR website.

  • Classification ID: KBR 5819-20

1558 – Het Universeel Wapenboek: Created for the Baron of Ingelmunster (in western Flanders). Depicts hundreds of heraldic arms from across the Low Countries and wider Europe.

  • Classification ID: ms. 18088 – 18106

1562 – Chorographie Flanderns in Portraits der Landesfürsten, den Wappen des Adels und des Landes und in seiner Geographie: This manuscript serves as both a history of Flanders, a pictorial chronicle of its rulers, and armorial (which begins on 44v)

  • Classification ID: BSB Cod.icon. 265

1567 – Den Boomgaert der Wapenen (Dutch title) or Le Iardin d’Armoiries (French title): This printed work contains over a thousand heraldic arms. The heraldry of various European soverigns at the time of Charles V are represented along with nobles from across the Low Countries and northern France. Introduction given in both French and Dutch.

.c 1575 – Wapenboek uit de Nederlanden: A manuscript armorial by wealthy Ghent lawyer and patrician Christoffel van Huernel. It has not been digitized, so the specific contents are unknown. A footnote in “Van wapenbord tot koningsboek” by Steven Thiry indicates it may relate to the Order of the Golden Fleece.

  • Author / Editor: Christoffel van Huerne (1550-1629)

1578 – Wapenboek van Ghent: A beautiful manuscript armorial and the first of a pair painted by Lieven Vander Schelden (a student of Lucas d’Heere). The armorial depicts the heraldry of Philip II, Archduke Mathias, William of Orange, and prominent nobles from across Ghent and Flanders. The second volume is not heraldic in nature.

  • Author / Illustrator: Lieven Vander Schelden

1645 – Den Nederlandtschen Herauld, Ofte Tractaet van Wapenen, En Politycken Adel: Though printed several decades after the Renaissance era, De Rouck’s work is notable as an overview of the study and practice of heraldry more than an armorial. Its structure is similar to treatises on heraldry that would follow in the centuries to come.

  • Classification ID: urn:nbn:de:hbz:061:1-510111
  • Author/ Editor: Thomas de Rouck
  • Printer: Jan Janssen

Modern References

  • Familiewapens – Centrum voor familiegeschiedenis: Dutch geneological organization for preserving and organizing heraldic arms.
  • Jean-Théodore De Raadt. Sceaux armoriés des Pays-Bas et des pays avoisinants (Belgique, royaume des Pays-Bas, Luxembourg, Allemagne, France), Brussels: 1898-1903, 4 vols. (English “Heraldic Seals of the Low Countries and Neighboring Countries”)
  • A.A. Vorsterman Van Oijen: Stam- en Wapenboek van aanzienlijke Nederlandsche Familiën. Gringinen: 1885-1890. 3 vols.
  • J.B. Rietstap: Wapenboek van den Nederlandschen Adel. Groningen: 1883-1887. 2 vols.