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Fribourg / Freiburg canton (Switerland)

Last modified: 2002-01-12 by pascal gross
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[Flag of Fribourg/Freiburg]
by António Martins

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Description of the flag

Per fess sable and argent.

Divided horizontally into equal parts black over white.

Symbolism of the flag

There is no definite understanding of the symbolism of Fribourg's flag, but there are several theories. One holds that black represents the clergy which was dominant there, as in their black vestments, representing peity, devotion, and self-denial. Another claims that the black represents the rich cultivated earth, while the white is the water surrounding the city (Sarine River). A third, and certainly the most interesting legend, has it that Duke Berchtold IV of Zahringia, founder of the city, spent a night in a charcoal burner's hut after being separated from his hunting party. He slept on sacks of charcoal and flour, and emerged in the morning all soiled black and white. He was thus inspired to grant his new town a black and white flag.

History of the flag

The city of Fribourg was founded in 1176. The battle flag may have been adopted as early as 1225, but the earliest documented evidence of it is in 1410. (Since the city-state was waging war in the early 13th century, it had to have a war flag.) Until 1831 the city-state carried two shields, one identical to the flag, and the other featuring a white castle on a blue field. It is fairly certain the castle device never figured on a flag. Fribourg became a sovereign state in 1477, and was one of two admitted to the Swiss Confederation by the Covenant of Stans in 1481.

T.F. Mills, 19 October 1997

Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours




[livery colours]

by Pascal Gross

Flaggen are vertically hoisted from a crossbar in the manner of gonfanon, in ratio of about 2:9, with a swallowtail that indents about 2 units. The chief, or hoist (square part) usually incorporates the design from the coat of arms - not from the flag. The fly part is always divided lengthwise, usually in a bicolour, triband or tricolour pattern (except Schwyz which is monocolour, and Glarus which has four stripes of unequal width). The colours chosen for the fly end are usually the main colours of the coat of arms, but the choice is not always straight forward.

Knatterfahnen are similar to Flaggen, but hoisted from the long side and have no swallow tail. They normally show the national, cantonal or communal flag in their chiefs.

Zeljko Heimer, 16 July 2000

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