Symbols and Rituals

Like any other university, Radboud University has its own symbols and rituals. In these, the university's special identity is expressed pictorially.

Radboud University's Coat of Arms

The university’s coat of arms was designed by the Utrecht goldsmiths Jan Eloy and Leo Brom for the opening of the university in 1923 and has served as the university’s trademark ever since.

The centre of the coat of arms depicts the Holy Ghost and his seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. The silver cross on the red field represents the coat of arms of the archdiocese of Utrecht, symbolising the Dutch Catholic community. The coat of arms is adorned with a golden crown and cross. The crown is said to have been worn by Emperor Charles. This reference to the Emperor reflects the close bond between the university and the city of Nijmegen. The heraldic device, in dei nomine feliciter - happily in God's name, is the blessing of Willibrord, the first bishop of Utrecht.

Evolutie van het wapen Radboud Universiteit
De evolutie van het wapen van de Radboud Universiteit

The Radboud University logo is derived from the university's coat of arms and is used in all our communications. See the logo information page for application guidelines and downloads.

Radboud University logo

The Rector's Chain

The Rector’s chain was a gift from the citizens of Nijmegen on the occasion of the opening of the university. It was designed and manufactured by local silversmiths Rudie and Johan Arens. The Rector’s chain was a gift from the citizens of Nijmegen on the occasion of the opening of the university.


The nine medallions depict the symbols of five faculties and the four patron saints of the university. The clover leaf represents the Faculty of Theology, the pair of scales the Faculty of Law, and the book with quill Arts and Philosophy. Aesculapius’ staff represents Medicine and the triangle with the chemical symbol for carbon the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

Het universiteitswapen verwerkt in de rectorsketen op een witte achtergrond

Patron saints

The patron saints of the university are: Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian and general patron of the Catholic universities, Willibrordus, the first bishop of Utrecht, Servatius, bishop of Maastricht and one of the first to preach Christianity in the Southern Netherlands, and Petrus Canisius, Nijmegen-born Doctor of the Church, whose world-famous catechism was published in 26 languages.


The three enamelled coats of arms are expressions of the connection between the university and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the city of Nijmegen and the Dutch Catholic church. The final element in the Rector’s chain represents the coat of arms of the university itself.

Pedellenstaf Radboud Universiteit

The Beadle's Mace

The rosewood hexagonal beadle’s mace has richly ornamented silver clasps. The figure of Christ on top of the mace holds a book with the alpha and omega in his left hand; Christ is depicted here as the source of all wisdom. The figure stands atop a globe garlanded with roses that symbolise the love that is wisdom’s companion in the world. The shaft of the mace features the letters A, M and C: Alma Mater Carolina, referring to the name that the first Rector wanted for the university – Keizer Karel Universiteit (Emperor Charles University).