The arms were granted in 1963.
Dithmarschen was a free republic from the 13th until the 16th century. After the conquest in 1559 by Adolf of Gottorf, Duke of Holstein, his brother Johann of Haldersleben and his nephew King Fredrich II of Denmark, Dithmarschen was split in Norder- and Süderdithmarschen. Both new territories had until 1867 rather much political freedom.
The oldest seals of Dithmarschen showed the St. Mary and St. Oswald, the two patron saints of the republic. The seal of Dithmarschen on the Act of Capitulation in 1559 shows the St. Mary as Mother Dolorosa, probably indicating the loss of freedom. After the capitulation no single seal has been used for Dithmarschen. Norderdithmarschen used in the late 16th century a seal with the St. Mary in a cross with solar rays.
The knight in the present arm appears rapidly after 1559 in the arms of the Dukes of Holstein for the new territory. It was not popular in Dithmarschen, as it showed a knight of Holstein. However, in the 18th century the governors of both Dithmarschens started to use the knight as a symbol. Finally in the 19th century it was adapted as the symbol of Dithmarschen by the population. Both the counties started to use the knight in their seals in the 1930s.
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Literature: Stadler, K. : Deutsche Wappen - Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Angelsachsen Verlag, 1964-1971, 8 volumes; Reissmann, M. : Die Wappen der Kreise, Ämter, Städte und Gemeinden in Schleswig-Holstein. Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein, Husum, 1997.