At the initial meeting of the Nassau County Board of Supervisors on January 3, 1899, the Board passed their first resolution providing for a County Coat of Arms, Seal and Flag. The county coat of arms was to include, "Arms, azure, lion rampant or, between seven billets." The Flag was "to be orange, charged with the arms of the County of Nassau." The Board's intent was to adopt the same general coat of arms design used by the House of Nassau.
The House of Nassau
The House of Nassau was created in 1159 when Count Walram of Laurenburg changed his name to Walram of Nassau; his family living in the castle of the same name located in Western Germany until the 15th century. In the 1200's the family split into two branches: one remained as the House of Nassau, and the other became the Royal Family of the Netherlands.
Why a Lion?
The lion is the most important figure in heraldry, symbolizing the fierceness, bravery and wisdom of the king of beasts. He's almost always rampant, meaning in an upright position. Designed to trace its historical background to "The House of Nassau", the rampant lion was commonly used on coat of arms. To distinguish the seal from others used, it was covered with shingles (billets); the colors, a golden lion on a blue field with golden shingles (billets). The lion on the current County Seal, although more natural than its predecessor is surrounded by 7 gold billets.
Different Uses of the Seal
There are more than a dozen different versions of the seal presently used in print, on flags, county vehicles, buildings, insignia, and on official documents. Its appropriate historic background and simple aesthetic appeal of the dynamic lion on the original "House of Nassau" seal have made it an everyday symbol of the county government. County flags bearing the coat of arms can be seen flying at all County buildings and facilities. The use of the seal on these buildings is in the best heraldic tradition.