Coat of arms of Schleswig-Holstein

The coat of arms of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein is vertically divided: in the heraldically right field, i.e. left as seen by the viewer, two blue lions are depicted on a golden background, facing the other half. The lions of Schleswig were taken from the coat of arms of Denmark. The heraldically left side is red with the silver nettle leaf of Holstein, an ancient symbol which had been in use with the Counts of Schauenburg and Holstein.

Coat of arms of
DEU Schleswig-Holstein COA.svg
State symbol of Schleswig-Holstein.svg
Schleswig-Holstein state logo for use by the public
ArmigerGovernment of Schleswig-Holstein
BlazonPer pale. Or two lions passant azure pale, armed and langued gules. Gules, a nettle leaf argent.
UseThe coat of arms may only be used by state authorities. The state logo is eligible for use by the general public.


In contrast to the proper Schleswig lions which face to the left (cf. this gallery) the lions in the state arms face the right side. According to legend Otto von Bismarck ordered this change after the Second Schleswig War because he thought it "impolite" by the Lions to show their hindside to Holstein. The current version was adopted by the government of Schleswig-Holstein on 18 January 1957.

In fact, it is usual in German heraldry for charges in a composite coat of arms to turn to face the center; this practice is known as heraldic courtoisie ('courtesy').


The coat of arms may only be used by official authorities. The government has issued a logo though, which may be used by the common public. It features a rounded shield and simplified lions.


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