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Bremen (Germany)

Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Freie Hansestadt Bremen

Last modified: 2002-06-14 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | bremen | freie hansestadt bremen | chequy: hoist | anchor | canton (white) | panel (white) | coat of arms | stripes: 8 |
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[Bremen (Germany)] 2:3      [State Flag with 'Middle' Arms (Bremen, Germany)] 2:3
both by Marcus Schmöger

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The current official flag usage is (according to Schurdel 1995):

  1. Staatsflagge mit Flaggenwappen [state flag with flag arms]: 12-striped with rectangle (covering 8 stripes) with greater arms [special design for flag usage]. In use since 1947.
  2. Staatsflagge mit mittlerem Wappen [state flag with middle arms]: 8-striped with rectangle (covering 4 stripes) with middle arms. In use since 1947.
  3. Landesdienstflagge der bremische Schiffahrt [state ensign]. Like the first, but with blue anchor in canton. In use since 1952.
In addition, the historic Landesflagge [civil flag] without the coat-of-arms appears to be in general use, also by private parties.

Norman Martin, 14 September 2000

In Schurdel 1995 there is also a reference to the decision of the 1890's, where it was said that the flag with the greater arms should have "at least" 12 stripes (it is obvioulsy implied that the flag could have more than 12 stripes!) and the flag with the lesser arms should have at least 8 stripes.

Elias Granqvist, 15 September 2000

Civil Flag


[Bremen (Germany)] 2:3
by Marcus Schmöger

The flag has four red and four white horizontal stripes, at the hoist checked in two columns.

Jan Oskar Engene, 6 December 1995

In Bremen the city flag is nicknamed gestreifter Speck (striped bacon), because it looks like fresh red bacon with white strips of fat in it.

Nicolas Küker, 20 May 1998

A long explanation on the Bremen flag and coat-of-arms (in German) can be found at the Bremen Official Website. The text is interesting, but I will translate just one sentence, "Die Flagge ist rot und weiß mindestens achtmal gestreift (...)" — the flag is red and white with at least 8 stripes. On that site is a flag with 8 stripes. In Znamierowski 1999 is a flag with 8 stripes and the coat-of-arms, which is the same as Ralf Stelter's rendition in Fischers Weltalmanach 1999. There are at least two other cities with this kind of minimality. Rotterdam in the Netherlands (now just green-white-green, but I have seen one with 23 stripes) and Porto in Portugal with nearly the same pattern, green-white-green-white, often repeated many times.

Jarig Bakker, 14 September 2000

From the Bremen Official Website (my translation):

Bremen's Civil Flag (Landesflagge)
The flag is made up of at least eight red and white stripes, bordered at the hoist by two vertical red-white chequered stripes. The colours of the flag were probably taken from the medieval imperial assault flag (Reichssturmfahne), wjich showed a white cross on a red field. This became in the Middle Ages a component of many national emblems. As early as 1227, Lübeck fought in the Bornhövede battle under red-white flags. The city's account books let us know that in the 16th century red and white silk was bought to produce a flag.
An extract from the Commentary to the 1947 Constitution of Bremen by Theodor Spitta follows, in which deliberations previous to the 1849, 1854, 1920 and 1947 Constitutions of Bremen are commented, concluding that on the first two occassions the symbols of Bremen were not discussed, whereas in 1920 the big debate over the German flag advised not to make any changes and in 1947 the lack of knowledge about Germany's future advised to use the traditional symbols.

Worth quoting is the current Constitution, "Artikel 68: Die Freie Hansestadt Bremen führt ihre bisherigen Wappen und Flaggen" that is, "Article 68: The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen shall use its traditional coat-of-arms and flags".

The webpage ends indicating that, "The standard specifications for the State Coat-of-Arms and Flag of Bremen includes the Bulletin of the [Bremen] Senate regarding (?) Regulations of the Coat-of-Arms and Flag of Bremen, of November 17th 1891 (Bekanntmachung des Senats betr. Vorschriften über das bremische Staatswappen, vom 17. November 1891), Law Bulletin of Bremen p.124 (Brem.Ges.-Bl. S. 124)."

Santiago Dotor, 19 September 2000

State Flags with Middle Arms and with Flag Arms

Staatsflaggen mit mittlerem Wappen und mit Flaggenwappen

[State Flag with 'Middle' Arms (Bremen, Germany)] 2:3      [State Flag with Flag Arms (Bremen, Germany)] 2:3
both by Marcus Schmöger

State Flag for Shipping since 1952

State Service Flag for State Vessels and State Maritime Buildings / Landesdienstflagge der Bremischen Schiffahrt

[State Ensign since 1952 (Bremen, Germany)] 2:3
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted 1952

The flag with an anchor in the canton is the state ensign, in use between 1891 to 1892, but was re-established 1952 for use on the Navigation buildings.

Jaume Ollé (?), 4 October 1998

The above text is taken from Schurdel 1995, pp. 128-129. The 1952 law says it was used for government authorities ships, and also corresponding government buildings.

Norman Martin, 14 September 2000


Middle Arms Flag Coat-of-Arms Greater Arms
[Lesser Arms (Bremen, Germany)] [Flag Coat-of-Arms (Bremen, Germany)] [Greater Arms (Bremen, Germany)]
all three from the Bremen Official Website, modified by Santiago Dotor

From the Bremen Official Website (my translation):

Middle Arms
The Coat-of-Arms of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen shows a silver key on a red field [Gules, a key Argent]. The key is the atribute of Saint Peter, patron saint of the church of Bremen, and it was first represented in the seal of the City of Bremen in 1366 and later became the main element of the city's coat-of-arms.

Flag Coat-of-Arms
The Flag Coat-of-Arms appears on the seal of the President of the (Bremen) Senate.

Greater Arms
The Greater Arms appears on the official seals of Bremen's goverment departments.

Santiago Dotor, 19 September 2000

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