Updated Europeana Heraldica database and Ontology of Heraldry opened

Europeana Heraldica, the heraldic database of the National Archives of Finland, has been updated. The website has a new design, and the database has been expanded with new heraldic material, including the coats of arms of noble families in Finland, Sweden and the Baltic countries, the coats of arms of freehold families (called “rälssi” in Finnish) and Medieval seals in Finland.

The database’s search system has also been updated and expanded. Now, users can also search for manifestations of coats of arms and parties related to them. Manifestations mean different physical objects made on the basis of coats of arms, such as funerary hatchments or seals. Parties cover different communities, locations, families or individuals related to coats of arms and their manifestations. In addition, coats of arms can now also be searched for based on their heraldic elements.

In particular, Europeana Heraldica contains heraldry that is significant when considering the history of Finland. In total, the database contains 8,000 coats of arms and heraldic seals, plus 500 other seals not regarded as heraldic. Moreover, it contains some 5,600 manifestations of coats of arms. The content of Europeana Heraldica is updated several times a year.

At the same time with the updated Europeana Heraldica database, HERO – Ontology of Heraldry has been opened. It contains heraldic terms used in the description of coats of arms. The coats of arms included in Europeana Heraldica have been described by using the concepts of the Ontology of Heraldry. Built on the platform of the Finnish Thesaurus and Ontology Service (Finto), the HERO ontology is based on open access data and is, therefore, openly accessible by using a web browser or an open access application programming interface (API). The development of HERO continues, and its content will be updated regularly.


Updated Europeana Heraldica:

HERO – Ontology of Heraldry:

Video: How to use Europeana Heraldica (in finnish):



Further information:

Yrjö Kotivuori, Senior Research Officer



Jan-Erik Engren, Research Officer