Dutch term – familiewapen

Coat of arms of King Willem-Alexander

Coat of arms of Prince Willem-Alexander until he became King. Image credits: Wikipedia

A familiewapen is a family crest or coat of arms. Most people in the Netherlands did not have a coat of arms. People who used them were usually members of the nobility or other members of the upper class. Working class families did not have a use for a crest.

There are several heraldic databases and collections that will tell you whether a coat of arms exists for a particular name. Even if you find a crest for your name, that does not mean that your family ever had any right to use it, as there may have been several families with the same name. Only by doing genealogical research will you be able to prove that one of your ancestors used that crest. Typically, you would have to go back to the 1600s at least, since most crests fell into disuse after that.

See the Heraldische Databank [Heraldic database] to find out whether a coat of arms ever existed for your family name.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Mike Mckenzie says

    Hi Yvette
    I wonder whether you can help. A while ago I acquired second hand bronze jardinair showing in addition to two dutch scenes a coat of arms.
    Two lions rampant supporting a shield with what appears to be a duck or goose standing on one leg with the other raised forward.
    The item has three lion mask handles and stands on three dragon feet

  2. Kyle Vreeken says

    Hi, my name is Kyle Vreeken. I am doing some research into my family tree, and I was wondering if there was another way to find my families coat of arms if it exists as I realize not just anyone can have or get one. I have searched other data bases and have come up with nothing. My heritage originates in the Netherlands, but there seems to be very little recorded with my last name.

    Would you be able or have the resources to get me a picture of my families coat of arms, if there is one?

    Thankyou for your time.

  3. Hello, if my mom’s family has been in America for a while, but I can trace that line of Vanderpool/ Van der Poel to an apparent coat of arms, am I allowed to utilize it?

  4. Robert van Asperen says

    Hello, I was wondering if you have ever researched the “van Asperen” name and their family crest?
    My father believes that our family is allowed to display the crest? He and his sister were born in Hemstede. He gave me a painted copy of the crest, buyt upon searching…it has similar features to an official one and I’m not sure if he has the correct version?
    I’m Robert van Asperen, half Dutch, half South African. I’m happy to send you copies of the one he supplied me with and what I have found on the internet. Is there a way of verifying them?
    My dutch isn’t great. I mostly used it as a child, but have sadly lost the majority of it over the years.
    my father is fluent in Dutch, so any transcripts you may have, please let me know. He’s more than happy to translate if necessary?

    • In the Netherlands, we do not have a college of arms to oversee who uses a coat of arms. Only coats of arms for noble families are overseen, by the Council of the Nobility. If you have a coat of arms that you want to use, nobody can stop you. In general, it is recommended to first verify the descent from the person who adopted the coat of arms, but there are no legal impediments. I have not researched the Van Asperen family myself.

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