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Free Democratic Party (Liberal Party) (Germany)

Freie Demokratische Partei / Die Liberalen (FDP)

Last modified: 2002-09-07 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | politics | liberal party | free democratic party | freie demokratische partei | liberalen (die) | letters: 3 (blue) |
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[Free Democratic Party, variant 1 (Germany)] 1:2      [Free Democratic Party, variant 2 (Germany)] 1:2
both by Marcus Schmöger
Flags used since c.1969

See also:


The FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei, Free Democratic Party), although being a liberal party, has always been more or less a mixture of more left-liberal (for civic rights) and right-liberal (nationalistic) attitudes. Especially in the 1950's there were several attempts to make the FDP a forum for decidedly right-wing politics (perhaps something like the Austrian FPÖ). This also could be seen in its political symbolism. With the SPD-FDP coalition 1969-1982 the left-liberals became more prominent in the party, and even before that decidedly right-wing members left the party, at least in part joining the 1964-founded NPD. Today the FDP maintains a position in the middle of the political positions, forming coalitions with the CDU as well as with the SPD in certain Länder.

The FDP was founded in 1948 and in 1949 it joined the federal coalition under Chancellor Adenauer, where it remained (except for a short opposition period 1957-1961) until 1966, when it went into opposition for another three years. During 1969-1982 it was part of the SPD-FDP coalition, from 1982-1998 part of the CDU-CSU-FDP coalition under Chancellor Kohl. Since 1998 it is in federal opposition. Although remaining the third or fourth largest parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the FDP constantly lost support in the Länder and now it is only represented in five out of 16 Länder parliaments. Especially in the new Länder (former German Democratic Republic) the FDP is very weak, in spite of its unification with the former East German parties LDPD and NDPD.

Marcus Schmöger, 31 March 2001


The flags used in the 1950's and their symbolism went out of use in the 1960's, according to Rabbow 1970. Since 1966 and even more since 1972 the FDP uses mainly the colours yellow and blue, now widely recognized in Germany as the FDP colours. Since 1969 the FDP uses the writing 'F.D.P.' (with dots) as its main symbol. This is also used on flags, in at least two variants. One is simply 'F.D.P.' and beneath 'Die Liberalen' [The Liberals] in blue on a yellow background. The other variant is the same on a white background with two yellow horizontal stripes near the top and bottom ('Israeli' pattern). The use of these flags is limited, though. I just found one recent event, when a flag of the second type was used. This was a demonstration against right extremism last year in Hamburg, where FDP followers also took part. During FDP meetings of several kinds one can at least see small paper flags of both variants. These were also available on the FDP website, but are gone now.


  • Rabbow 1970
  • Rabbow 1965
  • FDP-Bundesvorstand, Die Liberalen unter dem Vorsitz von Theodor Heuss und Franz Blücher, Sitzungsprotokolle 1949-1952, Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf.
  • Brochure Wahlkampf und Werbung: Ein Leitfaden für die Wahlkampfleiter, Propagandisten und Redner der Partei, 1953
  • Photo of a demonstration in Hamburg in 2000, found in Internet
  • FDP website
  • Election posters at Friedrich Naumann Foundation website

Marcus Schmöger, 31 March 2001

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