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Magyarország, Magyar Köztársaság, Republic of Hungary

Last modified: 2002-03-08 by dov gutterman
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[Hungarian flag]
by Istvan Molnar, 25 June 2001

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The Flag

From the DK book: "The current flag was first used in the 1848-49 uprising.  Its pattern was derived from the French Tricolore used during the French Revolution.  The colors: red, white and green, date back to the 9th century.  They were first used in 1608 during the reign of King Matthias II.  Until 1945, the royal crown appeared in the center of the national flag."

Red - symbolizes strength
White - faithfulness
Green - hope
Phil Nelson, 21 November 1999

From page 623 of the Magyarorsza'g to:rte'neti kronolo'gia'ja II. 1526-1848. Akade'miai Kiado' Budapest 1982 (Chronology of the Hungarian History 2nd part 1526-1848) :
"1806. During the year: The official colours of the flag of the Empire of Austria are the black and yellow, the official colours of the flag of the Kingdom of Hungary are the red, white and green."
Istvan Molnar, 23 July 2000

This flag represented the Hungarian state within the Empire, at least after the revolutionary 1848. It was this flag that was so hated in Zagreb in late 19th century and not the Austrian one. In any case, the lexicons of late 19th century (like Mayers) list this flag.
Zeljko Heimer, 11 November 2000

I have seen a film on the m1 TV an hour ago about the Hungarian historical flags. Some informations:
The tricolour was used first in 1801 by Joseph, Palatine of Hungary
The tricolour is used from 1830s. The ratio 2:1 Maybe this is the official version?!
The national flag has to be used on the official buildings - for example: schools, city halls, hospitals, police Stations - from 20 August 2000.
Istvan Molnar, 28 November 2000

The official flag is the tricolour without CoA. The ratio of the official flag is 1:2. The tricolour in 2:1, 3:2 and 2:3 is used also. The tricolour with CoA can be used too. This flag was in use in 1848 - 1849, 1867 - 1919, 1919 - 1949 and 1956 - now.
In 1849-1867, Hungary was under Austrian occupation and the country was divided.
In 21 March1919 - 31 July 1919, the Hungarian Soviet Republic used the red flag.
In 1949-1956, on the flag there was the Rákosi CoA.
Istvan Molnar, 25 June 2001

Istvan Molnar reported the Government decree about the national flag of Hungary. It should have 1:2 ratio. Does it mean that Hungary has changed its flag in 2000?
All previous reports spoke about 2:3 ratio.
Jan Zrzavy, 13 Auguat 2001

No! All previous reports and datas were WRONG!
The official Hungarian flag is the red-white-green tricolour without CoA - ratio 1:2 - from 1848! (means: 1848-1849, 1867-1919, 1919-1949, 1957-now!). You can see many variations of ratios 2:3, 3:5, 1:3, 3:2 etc....
See below the Legislation about the national flag.
Istvan Molnar, 13 Auguat 2001

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CS-/CS- 2:3) - RWV flag. If I am not much mistaken, the proper ratio for the national flag is 1:2, at least on land. At sea 2:3 is used.
Zeljko Heimer, 2 November 2001

National Colors Fringes

by Antonio Martins , 19 May 1997

Along with the normal state flag (civil but with CoA), I saw in various public buildings a 2:1 red-white-green flag with no charges and a distinct fringe of those colors. Any info?
Antonio Martins, 9 May 1997

Fringed flags are quite often in Hungary, as I have noticed - either with CoA or without it, even the flags hoisted outside. But, maybe, there is some significanse, since two flags were hoisted?
Zeljko Heimer, 10 May 1997

Off the top of my head, I'd say it's a variation on the civil flag.  My scouts' regiment regimental flags all are 'national fringed'.
Georges Kovari III, 19 June 1999

"State Flag"

[Hungarian flag after 1989]
by Zeljko Heimer, 3 November 2001

by Zeljko Heimer, 3 November 2001

According to the Hungarian Constitution, the flag of Hungary is a red-white-green tricolor. However, the tricolor with the CoA in it is more or less used as the de facto national flag. Namely, on national holidays,about 30-70% of the hoisted national flags are bearing a CoA. These CoA-decorated flags can be found both on state or government buildings and on private houses. The choice between CoA and none-CoA flags IMHO depends chiefly on the political views of the one who hoists it: between 1990-1994, when a conservative government was in power, almost all flags hoisted were with CoA. Between 1994-1998 , the ratio of flags with CoAs decreased form 80% to 30%. The 1994-1998 Government used almost exclusively the tricolor without the CoA. Since 1998 (neoconservative-bourgeoise-right-wing Coalition), government uses the tricolor with CoA again (along with the EU flag). Private "flag hoisters" tend to follow the trend, but very loosely. An exception: on the Parliament building, there has been hoisted the none-CoA version only.
On the other hand, in souvenir stores only CoA flags are sold. On none-holiday occasions (e.g., supermarkets hoisting their logo flag, the national flag, etc.), both CoA and none-CoA flags are hoisted, 60% vs. 40%. The CoA flag is, IMHO, not a state flag, since its use is nationwide, ranging from the government to every storekeepers fifth cousin. I would call "it de facto national flag", from the above reasons.
David N. Biacsi, 4 Februar 1999

The CoA flag is widespreadly used without official sanction, both by government and civilians, and can be considered as "de facto" flag variation. I guess that it is indicative that the flags used in very official occasions (as is the example of the Parliamen building), only the simple tricolour is used. It is to be noted that as often as not, the CoA on the flag is only on obverse, reverse being simple tricolour!
Zeljko Heimer, 18 October 1999

At on the village hall of Bakonyszucs/Sitsch, I saw an Hungarian flag (1:2) with the CoA on the hoist side about in third of its length.
Istvan Molnar, 2 July 2001

The flag with CoA is optional variation of the national flag, and not at all the state flag. According to the law the CoA "could be" set in the tricolour, but it is not prescribed how - place is not mentioned, nor orientation (rotation) nor size, and in practice many variations may be observed, all equally acceptable.
Zeljko Heimer, 13 July 2001

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - Alternative National Flag (CS-/CS- 2:3) - Armand chose to show the version with CoA in the middle, while I prefer the one off-set to hoist. Both are correct, as well as a
number of other variations...
Zeljko Heimer, 2 November 2001

The law alowes possibility that the CoA is set in the flag, but it does not specify where, how oriented and how big - therefore I don't think it says anything about "only on white".
Zeljko Heimer, 17 November 2001

Flag with CoA only on the White Stripe

by Istvan Molnar and Zeljko Heimer, 6 November 2001

by Istvan Molnar and Zeljko Heimer, 6 November 2001

An Hungarian flag with the CoA only on the white stripe in a photo taken in the Pentecostal Festival in Csíksomlyó (part of Miercurea-Ciuc / Csíkszereda city) in 2001. On the Home Page of Miercurea-Ciuc / Csíkszereda:
Istvan Molnar, 19 September 2001

Flags in Use

2:1 Flag

by Istvan Molnar, 8 May 2001

Yesterday I have seen this short Hungarian flag in Sárvár. It is a flying flag, not hanging one!
Istvan Molnar, 8 May 2001

2:3 Flag

by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999

"Historical" Flag

by Istvan Molnar, 15 August 2001

Today was the Millennium ceremony in Esztergom and I have seen this flag flying on the walls beside the Millennium Statue.
Istvan Molnar, 15 August 2001

This flag is flying below the Millennium Statue of the county. Maybe it will be a new tradition. Historical form with the tricolour.
Istvan Molnar, 26 August 2001

Flag for Use at Sea

by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999

According to Res. No. 51/1957 (VIII.18.)/ at, the Hungarian flag for use at sea is red-white-green. Ratio 2:3
Istvan Molnar, 4 April 2001

On the page of the Shipping Authority there was only one law concerning flags: It is a statute regulation as old as from 18th August 1957, but it still seems to be valid.
In 1§ it prescribes that Hungarian sea-going (!) merchant vessels shall (1) hoist the r-w-g tricolour in (2) ratio 2:3 and that they (3) may not use "mast ribbons" (whatever is meant by that).
2§ states that by this decree the old one from 1950 loses its validity.
Marco Pribilla, 1 November 2001

I guess that (3) refers to what we call "masthead pennant" or "war pennant". It seems logical that merchant vessels are prohibitied these since they as a rule declare a vessel to be a warship (c.f. the other name "commission pennant").
Zeljko Heimer, 2 November 2001


Law LXXXIII of 1995 about the use of the national symbols of the Hungarian Republic and the use of names that make reference to the Hungarian Republic

11. § (1) For the purpose of declaring the pertainance to the nation, private persons can use the arms and the flag, keeping the limitations contained in this law.
(2) The use of the arms and the flag is permitted - keeping the limitations contained in this law  in case of: national holidays, programs in relation with national holidays and other kind of programs (political, economical, scientific, etc.), commemorations of national character, and also casual use for giving military honors.
(3) In cases specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), the arms and the flag can be used also in their historical forms.
(4) The use of the arms on the flag is permitted in all cases - and with the same conditions -, when the use of the arms is permitted by the law.
Ivan Marinov, 11 January 2001

Constitution of Hungary - paragraph 76 (at The flag of Hungary is red-white-green.
Law LXXXIII. /1995/ about the symbols of Hungary at
Law XXXVIII. /2000/ at
Istvan Molnar, 23 March 2001

No. 132/2000. (VII.14.) order of the Government about the national flag (at Ratio of the flag: 1:2 . On the Appendix you can find measures of flags and flag-poles sizes (on the end of the page).
Istvan Molnar, 23 March 2001

The first law about the flag was the Law XXI in 1848. It said:
"1. The national colour and the Coat of Arms of the country restituted to traditional law" [No data of ratio. The official used flag was the 1:2 flag. The laws later renewed it!]
In the Constitution (XXth Law in 1949 modified by the XL Law in 1990) at
"76. § The flag of the Republic of Hungary contains three equal horizontal red,white and green stripes. [No data of ratio. It was traditionally 1:2]
Law LXXXIII (1995) about the using of the national symbols says nothing about the ratio too.
Resolution No. 132/2000 (VII. 14.) of the Government is defined the dimension of the flag - NOT modified, only determined.
The official dimensions are:
1. 100x200 cm 2,5 m (flagstaff)
2. 150x300 cm 3,5 m
3. 200x400 cm 4 m
You can find the Resolution No. 51/1957 (VIII. 18) of the Government from 1957 which defined the flag using on the sea (its ratio was 2:3!) at
Istvan Molnar, 13 Auguat 2001

I managed to find a Hungarian government decree (132/2000, issued 14.7.2000) complementary to the 2000 flag law. In the appendix the exact sizes of the flags to be used at government buildings are prescribed according to mast length and the flags are indeed all in ratio 1:2. (The decree even states that the flag is to be cleaned at least every three months and replaced by a new one once a year!)
On the other hand, there is the decree of 1957 <> which prescribes the 2:3 tricolour for merchant vessels. The constitution and the flag laws of 1995 and 2000 say nothing about the ratio.
So according to this information it seems that BOTH 1:2 and 2:3 are official, but for different use. The 2:3 tricolour is the merchant ensign, and 1:2 is some kind of state flag on land. For the ratio of private flags used on land, however, I have not found any prescriptions, so I guess anything goes...
Marco Pribilla, 18 November 2001

Presidential flag

CoA in a 1:1 white backgound with green red alternated triangle border. It appears in Smith78.
Antonio Martins, 7 May 1997

These are supposed to be wolf-teeth.
Nahum Shereshevsky
, 11 May 1997

Black Flags as Sign of Mourning

It was very interesting for me to see that in Hugary, flags on half mast as a symbol of mourn are NOT USED AT ALL. Last Sunday was officially declared as a national mourning day due to a bus accident in Styria, Austria. All buildings hoisted black flags, and there was none national flag, full mast or half mast, at all. What kind of tradition (or lack of it) may it be that, instead of half mast national flags, solely black flags are hoisted as a sign of mourning
David N. Biacsi, 4 Februar 1999

I read in one of my books (either Sisa's _Spirit of Hungary_ or Marek's _The Eagles Die_) that when Empress Elizabeth was assassinated in Lucerne on Sept. 9 1898, black flags were flown all over Budapest. As to whether they were also flown throughout Hungary, I don't know, but I wouldn't doubt it.
Georges Kovari III, 4 Februar 1999

I am speculating here, but if the tradition (or lack of it, as you put it) is anything similar to Croatia, and I believe it is then an explanation similar to this could be given. Most of the flags that are hoisted on private houses and blocks are of a kind where the staff is obliquly attached to the house, and the flag is attached to the sfatt either by the way of a sleve or nails. Any of the two would make it totally unpractical to put the flag on half-staff - it would require either resewing or getting the nails out. In any case, as these staff would be of, say, 2 meters long, a half-masted 1 meter wide flag would not look very well on it anyway. It is therefore, that the solution of blackflag is used.This is how I explain this around here, and maybe it would be similar in Hungary.
Zeljko Heimer, 5 Febuary 1999

the colour of mourning has always been black in Hungary. It is a tradition that has been in existence for centuries. They say its roots have not been traced yet. So on the occasion of the death of Queen Elizabeth in the last century it was flown because it had been flown on such occasions ever since people could remember not because it suddenly came to somebody's mind.
Albert Lugosi, 7 June 2000

When I was in Budapest last year, a black flag was hoisted on the building of the Academy of Sciences after the death of a famous scientist.
Ivan Sache, 15 September 2001

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