The right to use arms


Vapensköld för Ackerstierna, från Jämtland.
Arms of Ackerstierna family, from Jämtland, Sweden.

No, not that kind of arms.
I mean coat of arms. But nice to have your attention.

The right to use coat och arms is universal. Or at least that is the case in Scandinavia.

In social media, where people meet, brits often point out that no one has the right to bear arms unless given one by College of Arms och Lord Lyon.
And they are right. In Britain you must have permission from one authority.

That is, however, not the case in Scandinavia. Here everyone has the right to use heraldic achievement as they wish. One should respect the heraldic tradition and not use more than one helmet, not an open helmet and no “heart shield” (= a small shield on the center of the shield and it’s always the family’s main coat of arms).’ Open helmets and “heart shields” are only for the nobility.

So if someone says to you, that you only can use the arms that it’s given to you by a heraldic authority, don´t forget to tell them where you live. The rules there might allow you to bear arms as you wish. For example if you’re an American with Swedish heritage.