The Letter Patent
The Dutch Heraldry Society issues a ‘Wapenbrief’, a Letter Patent (‘open letter’), in which is laid down who may carry the coat of arms, together with the origin, the description and an image.
The conferment of a such Letter Patent means that your coat of arms, the appropriate description and possible origin is approved, certified and registered by the Dutch Heraldry Society.
A Letter Patent offers no legal protection in the Netherlands. Only the coats of arms of the families that belong to the Dutch Nobility and coats of arms of corporate bodies, such as provinces, municipalities, etc. are protected by law as they are registered and conferred by the Crown.
Letters Patent for a new coat of arms are usually issued on behalf of the applicant and the descendants bearing the same surname. When expressly requested the letters patent can be issued on behalf of the grandfather of the applicant, again with all his descendants bearing the same surname.
Copies of the issues Letters Patent will be included in our Register of Coats of Arms. Public consensus on who bears this coat of arms is made possible by publishing the data contained in the letters patent on our own website, in our magazine Blazoen, in the Dutch Heraldry Databank (Heraldische Databank) by the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG) and on the website Wazamar.
Conferred coats of arms are included in one of the Registers of the Dutch Heraldry Society (DHS / NGH).