THE COAT OF ARMS OF BELGIUM bears a lion or, known as Leo Belgicus (Latin : _the Belgian lion_), as its charge . This is in accordance with article 193 (originally 125) of the Belgian Constitution : _The Belgiun nation takes red, yellow and black as colours, and as state coat of arms the Belgian lion with the motto UNITY MAKES STRENGTH_. A royal decree of 17 March 1837 determines the achievement to be used in the greater and the lesser version, respectively.
* 1 Variants
* 1.1 Greater version * 1.2 Lesser version
* 2 History * 3 References * 4 External links
The shield is emblazoned: _Sable , a lion rampant or , armed and langued gules _. It is surmounted by a helmet with raised visor, with mantling or and sable and the royal crown in lieu of a crest . Behind the shield are placed a hand of justice and a sceptre with a lion. The grand collar of the Order of Leopold surrounds the shield. Two lions guardant proper support the shield as well as a lance with the national colours black, yellow and red. Underneath the compartment is placed the motto _L'union fait la force_ in French or Eendracht maakt macht in Dutch, or Unity Is Strength in English. The riband of the motto is red, with black stripes on either side. The lettering is golden. Since the Royal Decree of 1837 never received an official translation, the use of the Dutch version of the motto is customary rather than official. The whole is placed on a red mantle with ermine lining and golden fringes and tassels, ensigned with the royal crown. Above the mantle rise banners with the arms of the nine provinces that constituted Belgium in 1837. They are (from dexter to sinister) Antwerp , West Flanders , East Flanders , Liège , Brabant , Hainaut , Limburg , Luxembourg and Namur .
The greater arms are used only rarely. They adorn the great seal that is affixed to laws and international treaties.
Since the province of Brabant was split into Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Brussels in 1995, the greater arms no longer reflect the present territorial divisions of the state. The changes made to the arms of the Flemish provinces as a result of this decision are not reflected in the great seal either.
The lesser coat of arms (as used by the Belgian federal government, on passport covers and the official sites of the monarchy and of the government) consists of the shield, the royal crown, the crossed sceptres, the collar of the Order of Leopold and the motto.
The newly independent Kingdom of Belgium decided to base its coat of arms and flag on the symbols used by the short-lived United Netherlandish States . These came into being after the Southern Netherlands threw off Austrian rule. It existed as an independent polity from January to December 1790. The