This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website


Luxemburg, Lëtzebuerg - Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Last modified: 2003-02-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: luxembourg | luxemburg | letzebuerg | europe | lion (red) | rode lew | civil ensign | air ensign |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Flag of Luxembourg]by António Martins

Flag first hoisted in 1845-1848, officially adopted 23 June 1972 (adoption in effect 16 August 1972), coat of arms adopted 23 June 1972, modified 14 September 2001.
Description: Three horizontal stripes, red-white-light blue.
Proportion: 3:5 (or 1:2)
Use: on land, civil, State and war flag.

Colour official specifications (Grand Duke's regulation from 27 July 1993):

  • Red: Pantone 032 c
  • Blue: Pantone 299 c
  • Yellow (on the ensign): 116c

Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):

  • Red: CMYK (%) C 0 - M 90 - Y 85 - K 0
  • Blue: CMYK (%) C 85 - M 20 - Y 0 - K 0
  • Yellow: CMYK (%) C 0 - M 15 - Y 95 - K 0

On this page:

See also:

History of Luxembourg

At the Congress of Vienna in 1814/1815, when the Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded, King William I (of Orange-Nassau) also received Luxemburg as compensation for the loss of the Nassau lands in Germany. It was placed under the Dutch Constitution, in practice becoming the 18th province. But it also became a Grand Duchy and was member of the German Confederation.

In 1830 Luxemburg participated in the Belgian revolt. In 1839 an agreement was reached, in which the western part of Luxemburg remained Belgian as a province. The eastern part returned to the Dutch King, but the administration of the Kingdom and Grand Duchy were separated. Until 1866 the Grand Duchy was member of the German Confederation, the loss of the Walloon part being compensated for the Germans with the Dutch part of Limburg as Duchy.

When in 1890 King William III died, there was no male successor. Luxemburg then became fully independent under the Nassau-Weilburg branch.

Mark Sensen, 17 May 2002

History of the flag

The arms of Luxemburg date from the medieval times. Probably these are the Limburgian arms, diffentiated by changing the silver background into ten silver and blue stripes.

Flags in the colours of the arms (red, white and blue) were first used in 1830 during the Belgian revolt. The flag was defined as horizontal tricolour on 12 June 1845.

Source: Crampton's The World of Flags [cra90]

Mark Sensen, 17 May 2002

The law prescribing the flag was adopted on 23 June 1972 and published in the Mémorial. Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg A-N51 of 16 August 1972.
On the same date was adopted a water canal transport ensign and at the same time air ensign.

Pascal Vagnat,, 15 April 1999

The reasons why these emblems were adopted so lately is simple:

  • concerning the national flag there weren't any laws protecting this emblem, (as well as the arms of the state and of the Grand Duc) which any country in the world could adopt as its emblems (don't forget that many states became independent at that time, especially in Africa) or which could be misused by everyone.The other reason is that UNESCO wanted to have the laws and history of the Luxembourg flag at that time.
  • concerning the ensign, same reason of emblem protection and also the fact that this ensign was unofficially already used by canal transport crafts on the Mosel to differenciate them from the Dutch crafts.The canalisation of the Mosel in the 60s and 70s which made Dutch boats capable to go to Luxembourg, with the problem of knowing who was who, urged the governement to take measures.

Pascal Vagnat, 10 May 1996

Before 1972, the blue stripe was of any shade, e.g., Flaggenbuch [neu92] shows dark blue without ratio specification, as is to be expected.

Zeljko Heimer, 16 May 2002

Alternative national flag

[Alternative national flag]by António Martins

Similar to the flag shown above, but in proportion 1:2.

Source: Album des Pavillons [pay00]

People or the authorities can use (and in fact use) both 3:5 and 1:2 flags, though the 3:5 model is the more common and the 1:2 seems to be rare.

Pascal Vagnat, 17 May 2002

Netherlands vs. Luxembourg flags

The flags of the Netherlands and of Luxembourg (as they are known internationally) are similar, but not the same, and it's just a coincidence, nothing to do with having any common origin. The colours of Luxembourg are derived from the coat of arms. Recently the blue has been defined as 299 in the Pantone Matching System, unlike the 286 blue in the flag of the Netherlands. It was laid down some time ago that the proportions of the flag would be 3:5 or 1:2, unlike the Dutch flag, which is always 2:3.

However, because the flags still look similar at a distance, the Luxemburgers have a distinct flag for use on civil vessels on the Rhine and elsewhere. It is a banner of the arms.

William Crampton, 20 March 1995


[Ensign]by António Martins & Mark Sensen

The ensign has ten white and blue stripes and a red lion over all. The proportions are 5:7. The name of this ensign is the rode lew (red lion). It is a banner of the lesser national arms.

Before 1990, this flag was the water canal transport ensign and at the same time air ensign.

The law of the 9th of November 1990 concerning the creation of a Luxembourg public maritime register made of the ensign also a sea ensign (civil, merchant, and why not state).

The square version of the ensign is also the obverse of the army flag and the obverse of the Gendarmerie flag.

Pascal Vagnat, 10 May 1996