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Deutschland, Federal Republic of Germany, Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Last modified: 2003-07-18 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | deutschland | federal republic of germany | bundesrepublik deutschland | brd | flaggen | fahnen | flaggenkunde |
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[Germany] 3:5
by António Martins
Flag adopted 9th May 1949, as civil ensign 14th August 1950

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As the western occupation zones moved to unity in the last years of the 1940s, it became obvious that the governmental entity which would develop would adopt the black-red-gold of the Weimar Republic and indeed, it was established as the National Flag on 9 May 1949, two weeks before the Federal Republic came into existence. Unlike the Weimar period, there has been no serious opposition. Most of the 1949 flags are still in use.

Norman Martin, February 1998

The official name of the German flag is Bundesflagge (federal flag). However, this name is mainly used by authorities or in very official announcements. The name given on the page about names of flags, Schwarz-Rot-Gold (black-red-gold), is not very usual; it is more a poetic term. Most Germans simply call the flag Deutschlandfahne (Germany flag).

Carsten Linke, 2 May 1996

Sport sailors in Germany call their national flag Adenauer (first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany).

Jens Wessel, 3 January 2001

National Flag and Civil Ensign / Federal Flag

National- und Handelsflagge / Bundesflagge

[National Flag and Civil Ensign (Germany)] 3:5
by António Martins
Flag adopted 9th May 1949, as civil ensign 14th August 1950

Identical [except proportions] with the National Flag of the Weimar Republic. Adopted as Federal flag 9 May 1949 and usage extended to civil ensign 14 August 1950. Illustrated in Pedersen 1971 p. 30, Smith 1975, p. 227, Crampton 1990i, p. 43, Album des Pavillons 1990, p. 17 and many other places.

Norman Martin, February 1998

Today the black-red-yellow tricolour is used as the national flag and the merchant ensign. The state flag and ensign are the same, but with the shield not really centred but placed toward the hoist. The naval ensign and jack are the same, but swallowtailed.

Pascal Vagnat, 4 September 1996

Hanging Flag


[National Flag and Civil Ensign, hanging flag variant (Germany)] 5:2
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted 13th November 1996

Since 13th November 1996 also the hanging flag (Banner) is legally prescribed, although it was used long before. Legal prescription is the Anordnung über die deutschen Flaggen (Instruction on the German Flags) of 13th November 1996, published in the Bundesgesetzblatt I 1996, p. 1729. The image I made is in proportion 5:2, as this is the most frequently found proportion for hanging flags in Germany. Sources: Laitenberger and Bassier 2000, Friedel 1968 and Bundesministerium des Innern 1956.

Marcus Schmöger, 14 March 2001

Editor's note: see also Very long hanging flags.



[Coat-of-Arms (Germany)]
by Marcus Schmöger

If used alone as coat-of-arms, this is the legally prescribed form. However the eagle is used in different forms (e.g. on flags, seals or in the Bundestag). The legal prescriptions are the Bekanntmachung betreffend das Bundeswappen und den Bundesadler (Proclamation on the Federal Coat-of-Arms and the Federal Eagle) of 20th January 1950, published in the Bundesgesetzblatt I 1950, p. 26 and the Bekanntmachung über die farbige Darstellung des Bundeswappens (Proclamation on the Coloured Representation of the Federal Coat-of-Arms) of 4th July 1952, published in the Bundesanzeiger no. 169, 2nd September 1952. The latter contains a coloured table on which the coat-of-arms is depicted. Source: Laitenberger and Bassier 2000.

Marcus Schmöger, 16 March 2001

Editor's note: compare with the 'federal shield' or Bundesschild, also with the eagle in the presidential standard.

Historical use of the current flag

The black-red-yellow tricolour flag has been used at least three times in the history of Germany. It was adopted in 1848, and abolished in 1852; readopted as the flag of the Weimar Republic on August 11th 1919, and abolished and replaced by the Third Reich flag March 12th 1933. It was finally readopted as the modern German flag on 8 May 1949. It was used by the German Democratic Republic until 1959, but had added to it a coat of arms from 1959 to 1989, when the Germanies were reunited.

Mark Sensen, 1996

The black-red-gold is historically associated with "liberal" nationalism in Germany, rather than republicanism per se. It was first adopted by the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848 for the proposed united German Empire. That the 1870 German Empire went for a flag asserting north German traditions (the black and white of Prussia with the white and red of the Hanseatic League) was due to Bismarck wanting a Kleindeutschland [smaller Germany] solution — excluding the Austrian lands, rather than the Frankfurt liberals' Grossdeutschland [greater Germany] which would have included the Austrian lands within the old German Confederation.

Roy Stilling, 5 October 1996