Knud, apple and lily A little bit about a city coat of arms

Knud, apple and lily
Other | Monday d. 19. Jul. - Sunday d. 25. Jul. 2021 | Odense | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Location: Odense by

I almost have a childish fascination with the city coat of arms. Colors and shapes filled with simple symbolism. Swans and dragons, kings and castles, ships and swords.

On Funen, it’s primarily waves, castles and ships, which is not so strange given where the market towns are located, however, with exceptions such as  Assen's sweet sheep or Odense's Knud.

From seals and books it’s known that Knud the Holy has been used as a symbol of the city since 1460, either independently or in combination with other symbols, such as the Odense lily. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that people officially started using Knud and the city coat of arms as we know it today. The Saint Knud in the middle with the royal apple (the royal power) in one hand and the lily banner in the other and a larger lily between the legs, which alludes to the ax he was killed by. Probably the lily was the symbol of the city before Knud, so in that way, they became integrated with each other. On the side are two of the city's historic buildings, the church and the town hall, which also are close to each other in the real world. The colors are blue and red. The armor is royal blue and the cloak is red.

Today, Knud figures are mostly used separately, on signs, letterhead and buildings, but clearly refer back to the entire city coat of arms, which fortunately can also be seen in several places, including above the town hall entrance and perhaps more surprisingly above the entrance to the pub Tinsoldaten on Frue Kirkestræde. Another fun, but probably not so surprising place, is at the city archives, where all the island's market towns are represented with their town coats of arms on the side facing the street and with Svendborg and Odense at the ends.

Although it is probably mostly my childish joy, I think it’s fun and exciting to walk around the city and "discover" the shields or references to the individual parts. I have also written about the Odense lily, which you can actually see in a number of places. It has probably been forgotten a bit in favor of Knud, but I really think it can do something and is a charming symbol of the city, which we could really use some more. Rather a beautiful French lily than a warlike Viking king, whom the people rebelled against anyway.

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Written by Anders Skovgaard

For mig er Odense et forsøg. En åben by, hvor jeg kan skabe mig selv ind i. En mulighed for at gøre noget tingene på en anden måde. Eller det er det hvert fald blevet. Personlig tiltrækkes jeg af f...

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