Cologne Coat of Arms

Cologne Coat of Arms

The Cologne coat of arms shows three crowns on a red field and eleven black drops on a white one. Each displayed component has its own meaning, which partially refers to legends.


The crowns symbolise the Three Kings or biblical Magi, the supposed relics of whom are housed in a golden shrine, which is named after them, in the Cologne Cathedral. In 1154, Frederick I Barbarossa Holy Roman Emperor gave them as a gift to Cologne.


According to different understandings, the drops may be interpreted as flames. Locals call them “tears” which derive from ermine tails on the historic Breton heraldry. Brittany was the mother country of Cologne’s Patron Saint Holy Ursula. Together with ten virgins she is said to have been martyred by the Huns. The “tears” commemorate her fate.


Finally, red and white are the colours used by the Hanseatic League which determined the economic development of wide parts of medieval Europe. Together with Lübeck, Cologne is considered as founding city of this alliance. 




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