Arms of Dünserberg, Austria


Granted 1969

Blazon: Argent an ibex rampant azure, armed sable

We’ve seen the ibex as a charge for Austrian villages before; it was the emblem of a small collection of villages founded by Swiss settlers from the canton of Valais. “Valais” was corrupted to “Wallis,” and later “Walser,” which became the name of this group. The ibex is native to Valais, so I’d speculate that that’s why it was adopted.

Arms of Düns, Austria


Granted 1970

Blazon: Per fess or three ivy leaves in chevron vert and of the second a hunting-horn argent, stringed of the first

As a small, heavily wooded community, I’m sure it’s not a surprise that forestry is (and has been) very important to the economy of Düns. The ivy leaves in the chief were apparently used as a brand on the wood they traded. (I am so happy the lovely people at mentioned that those were ivy leaves, because I would not have gotten that.) The hunting horn evidently comes from the estate of Jagdberg; their arms didn’t survive, but the hunting horn shows up in a few other Austrian arms.


Arms of Dölsach, Austria


Granted 1970

Blazon: Azure a Corinthian capital argent

The capital (decorative top part of a column) was adopted in honor of the Roman city of Aguntum. Part of the ruins of the city lie within Dölsach, and the town hosts some of the archaeological finds in a museum. It was a thriving trade town until it fell victim to first the Huns, and then a succession of Western European tribes, including the Ostrogoths. What remained of the city was rediscovered in 1882.

Arms of Dürnstein in der Steiermark, Austria

Dürnstein in der Steiermark

Granted 1986

Blazon: Vert on a chief argent a heraldic panther passant sable

These are fairly unsurprising arms, given the municipality’s name and location (on the border of Styria and Carinthia). The arms of Styria are vert a heraldic panther rampant argent armed and incensed gules, so Dürnstein in der Steiermark mostly just borrowed those, with some tweaks to tincture and positioning (and less fire).

Also, yes, heraldic panthers are weird. Very weird. Keep in mind that most of the people drawing coats of arms while these depictions were being established were a. in Europe, and b. had no concept of a panther beyond “ferocious beast sort of like a lion.” There is an unsupported theory that the fire-breathing which is traditionally an attribute of the heraldic panther was intended as a symbol of its wrath, but it’s the Middle Ages. They very well might have just figured panthers breathed fire.

Austrian National Day


Happy Austrian National Day! It doesn’t get much simpler than the Austrian arms, and it’s probably not a surprise that they’re very old. The fess was first depicted in 1105 as the arms of Leopold III of Austria, of the Babenberg dynasty. The earliest proof of tincture is about a century later (due to the inherent limitations of seals, which is where most of the early depictions of arms come from): Frederick II of Austria, great-great-grandson of Leopold III, evidently wore the red and white in 1232.

“But,” I can hear you asking, “is there a highly romantic, implausible, and anachronistic legend linking these arms to the Crusades?” Of course there is! The story goes that Leopold V (grandson of Leopold III, grandfather of Frederick II) fought so hard at the Siege of Acre that his white tunic was stained completely red with blood. When he took his belt off, it left a vivid white stripe, and apparently he liked it so much he made it his arms. (I don’t know.)

The probably-not-a-bloody-tunic remained the arms of Austria until they were formally adopted in 1919 by the First Republic of Austria, with the Germanic black eagle as a single supporter. The eagle also bore a hammer (for industrial workers), a sickle (for farmers), and was crowned with a mural crown (for the bourgeoise). In 1934, the fascist Federal State of Austria changed the single-headed eagle to the double-headed one, probably to strengthen the visual ties to Germany. They also removed the accoutrements. However, when the Second Republic was reestablished in 1945, they promptly went right back to the 1919 arms, with one addition: a broken chain, to symbolize the nation’s liberation from Nazism.

One other thing – although the famous and infamous Habsburgs ruled Austria for a very long time, the Austrian arms are not the Habsburg arms. For as many arms as they eventually picked up and incorporated into truly terrifying assemblages, their house arms are fairly straightforward: or a lion rampant gules, crowned, armed, and langued azure.

Arms of Dürnkrut, Austria


Granted 1967

Blazon: Azure two swords in saltire or, overall in the fess point an escutcheon gules a fess argent

I can’t really talk about anything to do with this town without mentioning the Battle on the Marchfeld, which was a turning point in the history of the Habsburg family, and therefore, of Europe as a whole. In 1278, Rudolph I of Habsburg defeated Ottokar II of Bohemia, establishing the former’s control over Austria and much of central Europe. They would remain one of the premier ruling families of Europe (sometimes the ruling family of Europe) for several centuries.

Weirdly, I can’t find much on the town’s arms. A scroll through the municipal timeline is worthwhile and interesting – note the Scottish lord who bought the town in 1696 – but not particularly informative from a heraldic perspective. It’s possible the swords are intended to be a reference to the Battle on the Marchfeld, but… I’m probably letting my imagination run away with me there.

Arms of Dunkelsteinerwald, Austria


Granted 1982

Blazon: Per pale gules a cross paté argent and of the second, overall a triple mount in base, issuant from the sinister mount a pine tree vert

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that forestry has long been a foundational industry of the town… but I have no evidence that that has anything to do with the arms. It is a shame that they went with the fairly common charges of mountains, trees, and crosses when there is apparently a local family, the Maissau, who bear or a unicorn rampant sable. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that dark, mysterious woods give rise to local legends of mythical beasts wandering around in them.