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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom

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Incorporated into : 1976 Shetland Islands

Arms (crest) of Zetland

Official blazon

Azure, a base invected barry Argent and Sable, the alternate party lines being engrailed and plain, a dragon ship Or, under sail spread to starboard Argent, oars in action [Or], flag and mast Gules.

Which Shield is ensigned with the proper coronet of a County Council, and in an Escrol below the same this Motto "Með Lögum Skal Land Byggja".


The arms were granted on February 14, 1956.

The blue shield with a Viking warship at sea recalls the old link with the Nordic countries and Shetland's reliance on the sea. The blue and gold colours were taken from the old Earldom of Orkney, as the Shetland islands belonged to this Earldom during the Norse era. The motto 'Með lögum skal land byggja' is taken from the Icelandic Njáls Saga and is in old Norse, meaning 'By law shall the land be built up'.

Arms of Zetland

The arms on a stone in Billister (Source)

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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink

Literature : Patton, 1977; Urquhart, 1973.