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Republika Hrvatska, Republic of Croatia

Last modified: 2003-07-12 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | hrvatska | balkans | europe | checquy | star | ribbon |
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by Carlos Esparza, 21 January 2001
Flag adopted 21 December 1990, coat of arms adopted 21 December 1990.

Other Croatian pages in FOTW:

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An overview of the croatian flags

Basically, the situation about croatian flags is like this:

The civil, state and war flag is the well known red-white-blue flag with coat of arms in the middle, proportions 1:2. (on the top of the page)

The civil and state ensign is the same, but 2:3 in proportions.

The naval ensign is blue bordered white and red with stylized coat of arms and crossed anchors (the exact use of this one is unclear to me, might be jack or even an admiral's flag - see Admiral flag)

The jack is the same as the civil ensign.

The president's flag is square, blue, bordered red and white, with the president's Coat-of-Arms (much stylized arms of Croatia with letters RH above).

The police is using an ensign that is rectangular, blue bordered with white ornament, with state coat of arms over two white crossed anchors.

The police pennant on inland vessels (River Police) is triangular, white with voided blue lozenge that has black numerals in it.

The war minister, chief of staff etc. don't have (yet?) flags.

Zeljko Heimer, 9 March 1997

Use of the Flag

The Croatian flag carried in front of the team at Sydney 2000 Olympic games ceremony, was not quite as it should be - the coat of arms was moved a bit too much down, the space between the crest and shield was white (should be "transparent", and therefore red). The shield should be positioned so that four rows of squares come into white stripe, and only the fifth enters the blue field. The shield should not enter the red field at all, only the crest, that should be fimbriated with white and red (as well as the shield, in fact). However, this error is very common among foreign flag manufacturers.
The flag was very clearly visible in one moment when the director of the coverage choosed to show what's being done white the flags when the athletes reach their final point - they were gathered on the stage, and the moment of setting of the Croatian flag was shown.
Zeljko Heimer, 15 September 2000

Today Croatia is celebrating 10 years since the EU recognized Croatian independence. Few states recognized Croatia even before that date e.g. (Vatican, Ukraine, Iceland), others followed soon (e.g. USA recognition came in April 1992), however, 15 January 1992 is the day generally accepted as the date of the international recognition of Croatia.
In May 1992 Croatia was admited to United Nations. As I was reminded in a documentary I just saw on TV, the Croatian flag was first hoisted ceremoniously infront of the UN HQ in New York on 22 May 1992. (At the same time B&H white flags w/lilies was also hoisted for the first time there.)
Zeljko Heimer, 15 January 2002

Use of the Flag with the Red Star

After five years, I saw the flag with the red star on the news on the national TV. It was displayed on a celebration of some partisan (anti-fascist) unit in Istria. Beside this flag there was also the Italian flag with a red star (see the flag of Italian minority in Yugoslavia). It is the first time since the declaration of independence that this flag is displayed publicly. (Maybe to mention, government officials and high army commanders were there, so it wasn't any kind of "rebellions" or demonstrations against the current government).

I have nothing against it, moreover, I think it is (one of the) historical Croatian flags, and should be respected as any other historical flag. Many fine Croatians fought under it, for the freedom of their homeland.

Zeljko Heimer, 13 November 1995

Use of Short Flag and Rotated Coat-of-Arms

I have seen rarely that the coat of arms is rotated for 90 degrees, when the flag is hanging vertically, but this is not usual.

If there is need of a "short" flag, there is a tendency to "shorten" the horizontal flag so that instead of being 1:2, it becomes e.g. 5:3, as it was on the parade on 30 May 1995 (Statehood Day).

Zeljko Heimer, 16 September 1995

Croatia Changes Its Flag ?

Not really, but possibly in some time... Recently a discussion in newspapers were (re)introduced about the need of the flag change. Now the discussion was induced by an article in "Vecernji list" (Zagreb newspapers) transmiting opinion of one of the presidential candidates (after the elections) dr. Slaven Letica. He questioned constitutionality of the current coat of arms (therefore the flag, too) regarding the "zoo" (the crest) above the shield. He was answered by several historians and law experts, claiming that he is wrong in that assumption, and that there is no question of constitutionality, but however, the Pandorra box is opened... A designer came forward with his ideas on a new flag, and with argumentation going further from the constitutionality question. So, maybe it is best that I left the articles to speak for themselves. One can see them in two numbers of mentioned newspapers (in PDF format, with images), but they are rather large (500K and 2,5M) in Croatian at: <> and <>. There is also a good vectorial image of Cro. CoA, see: <>.

Here is translation from Vecernji list, 25 January 2000., [ my notes in brackets]:

Is the Crown on the Croatian Coat of Arms unconstitutional?

The Constitution regulates only the basics of the Croatian coat of arms 25 red and white fields "The coat of arms (CoA) of the Republic of Croatia is the historic Croatian CoA that is basically 25 interchangeably red and white (silver) fields. The description of the historic Croatian CoA and its use and protection is determined by law." That are two lines from article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia on the Croatia CoA, while the detailed layout of the CoA is regulated by the Law on the CoAm the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Croatia and the flag and the sashe of the President of the Republic of Croatia. According to the Law, a crown is added to the CoA basics, that features the oldest known Croatian CoA and CoAs of the Republic of Dubrovnik [Ragusa], Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia. Does the Law steps over the constitutional limits? According to opinion of dr. Slaven Letica, former councillior to dr. Tudjman, that he repeated these days, the crown of the five CoA is added to the Croatian red- white chequy shield unconstitutionally. As he claims, Letica has warned the late President that it is beyond the Constitution, but dr. Tudjman then replied that it was already decided about the layout of the Croatian CoA. Was there need to change the Constitution because of the layout of the CoA, for what 2/3 mayority is needed in parliament? In the time when the Law on CoA was being adopted, in 1990, Croatia had more pressing issues, so that the discussions that rised from time to time, were left on side. Even if today there are again more pressing matters, the question of the CoA might intrigue the public again. Should the Croatian CoA be changed and why is the question with many answers. Many prefer only the chequy shield, others would say that the five CoAs in the crown does not represent the entire Croatia, and maybe there fund reason for constitutionality discussion. The third would discuss if the chequy shield should begin with white or red field (now it begins with red), another thing not regulated by the Constitution. Some would be bothered that there is a crown above the shield, a symbol of royalty, while others would not like that the five CoAs refer to Croatian regions. However, the constitution experts that we consulted could not say if the five CoAs crown above the shield was really unconstitutionally added. That is, the Constitution prescribes that the CoA hav "basics of 25 fields", that would mean something can be added to the basics, but how much could be added not to change the general layout, is the question without simple answer. Together with the announced Constitutional changes, maybe the question of the CoA shall be dealt with again in the Parliament, even if there are ideas that the citizens should decide on their CoA on a referendum, that is if a referendum would not be to expensive for us. According an other opinion, the crown is not added unconstitutionally, sinc ethe Constitution prescribe ofly the basics of 25 red-white fields, and the current five CoAs crown can be changed by law.
S. Perica

Dr. Petar Strcic: Chequy fields can not be argued

Dr. Petar Strcic, the director of the Croatian arts and sciences academy archive, talked about CoAs and flags for our newspapers several years ago. On the origin of the chequy fields he said that they are firs noted in use by Apennine bishop, but how they found their home in Croatia it is not known. - The cheap-political accusations that the current state CoA is taken from Ustasha Independent State of Croatia [WWII axis state, in territory of current Croatia and B&H] are really funny. highlighted then dr. Strcic. The oldest known Croatian CoA is the crescent with six-pointed star, set in first field of the crown of the Croatian official CoA. Dr. Strcic said that the chequy fields as base of the state CoA are not and can not be argued about, but the same can not be said about all other elements of the CoA. - The CoA of Dubrovnik set in the crown is, in fact, a fraud version, but the biggest problem is with the CoA with goat charge, that should represent Istria - said dr. Strcic, pointing out that the CoA with a goat was among Istrian Croats considered expressive symbol of romanization and italianization. It is in use only from 19th century, and was prometed only by small Italian and pro-Italian circle. - You can imagine what would be reaction to the goat in the Croatian CoA of the Istrain reformators, bishop Dobrila, Spincic or Laginja? asked dr. Strcic.
Zeljko Heimer, 30 January 2000

See also: History of the National Flag