Thursday, December 27, 2012

Heraldry-Like Items in Maastricht

One of the things foreigners in the Low Countries notice, especially those keeping an eye out for coats of arms and heraldry, are the house signs one sees on the facades of buildings.  Maastricht was no exception to this; it seemed that every street I walked down (or up) there had buildings with these emblems on them, each one unique, and often also marked with a date (presumably that of the construction of the building).  Such signs used to serve in the place of house numbers; one didn't look for a house number and street name, one looked for, e.g., the Golden Ram on X street.

And, of course, many of these house signs could be considered heraldic in nature; certainly many of them share many of the same traits as good heraldry: good contrast, distinctiveness, animals in stylized postures, and easy identifiability.  So with that introduction, here is a selection of these house signs I discovered in my wanderings about the streets of Maastricht.

The above is on the facade of the appropriately-named
Hotel du Casque
(Hotel of the Helmet)

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