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The arms were officially granted on February 2, 1838 and again on March 13, 1981.
Damme, or Hondsdamme, received city rights in 1180 by Filips of the Alsace, Count of Vlaanderen. The oldest seal of the city shows a ship, probably a Hanseatic kogge. The contra-seal already shows a dog on a bridge with water in the base. The second seal, from around 1300, shows a ship with a flag or banner with the dog. Later selas show either a ship with a banner, or the arms with a dog on a bar. On one seal the chief of the arms shows three fleur-de-lys, probably for the Count of Vlaaderen at the time.
Seal of Damme from the first half of the 13th century
Seal of Damme from around 1300
Seal of Damme from the second half of the 14th century
Seal of Damme on a charter of July 19, 1371 (Lübeck city archive)
The arms on the map of Pieter Pourbus (1571, Groeningemuseum, Brugge)
The dog on the silver bar is probably a canting element for the old name, Hondsdamme, hond being Dutch for dog. The name, however, means a dam in/near the Honte river and has nothing to do with dogs.
Ever since the 14th century the arms have remained the same; the colours are known since the late 15th century.
The arms in the Koffie Hag/Café Hag albums +/- 1930
The arms as seen in the city
The arms on a police badge (source)
Seal of Damme, Hoeke and Monnikerede from 1594
In 1813 became an independent municipality, Monnikerede by the time had disappeared and the area became part of the municipality of Oostkerke. Both became again part of Damme in 1976.
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Literature : Servais, 1955; Ewe, 1972