Last modified: 2013-04-13 by klaus-michael schneider
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Falko Schmidt sent me the descriptions for the [remaining] county flags of Baden-Württemberg so I could draw them. His sources were the official flag grants and in some cases information obtained from the county office (Landratsamt). So actually it is Falko who should be credited for all the research, I merely turned his results into GIFs.
Baden-Württemberg occupies the southwest of Germany. It is divided into four districts (Regierungsbezirke) and 35 counties (Kreise). The current counties are the result of the municipal reform in 1973. Previously there were 63 counties. The counties were not allowed to have their own flags prior to 1987 (which means that the old counties did not have any). In the years following 1987 most counties adopted flags, only two of them do not have a flag today.
The form of the flags are very strictly regulated. Like other municipal flags in Baden-Württemberg [i.e. 'historical' flags that were in use before these rules came into effect], county flags consist of two equal stripes, the colours must be taken from the coat of arms of the county. There are two types of flags, generic flags and service flags (Dienstflaggen). The service flags bear the coat of arms, usually in the upper part of the flag, and may be used by the county authorities alone. The flags I made are of the service flag type, the generic versions are the same, they just don't have the arms. The images for the arms are derived from the arms shown at Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website, mostly they are from Stadler 1964-1972 and Heinz Bardua: "Die Kreis- und Gemeindewappen im Regierungsbezirk Stuttgart" (County and Municipal Arms in the Stuttgart District), Stuttgart 1987.
Like the Thuringian counties, the counties in Baden-Württemberg often show the symbols of former territories in their arms. Mostly these are the six territories represented on top of the greater coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg. From dexter to sinister
(heraldic right to left) these are:
- Franconia (Franken): three white points in a red field [parted per fess dancetty Gules and Argent], for the northeastern parts of Baden-Württemberg.
- Zollern: quartered of white and black [quarterly Argent and Sable], representing the small Prussian province of Hohenzollern (actually, this is the area from which the Zollern dynasty of Prussia originated).
- Baden: a red bend in a yellow field[Or a bend Gules].
- Württemberg: three black antlers in a yellow field [Or three antlers Sable], often reduced to one antler in arms of various counties.
- Palatinate (Pfalz): a yellow lion, crowned red, in a black field [Sable a lion Or crowned Gules], representing the area around City of Heidelberg which was separated from the Palatinate in 1802. Some counties also have the blue-white lozenges of the Wittelsbachs, the rulers of Bavaria andthe Palatinate.
- Austria: a white bar in a red field [Gules a fess Argent]. The Hapsburgs had many posessions in the southern parts of the state, jointly known as Hither Austria (Vorderösterreich). The areas were lost to France, Baden and Württemberg after the French invasion under Napoleon.
Other important symbols in the county arms include the archbishopric of Mainz (white wheel in a red field) and the imperial eagle (black on golden field) for the many imperial cities in the area.
Stefan Schwoon, 18 Mar 2001
I seriously doubt that county flags without arms have ever existed. At least in Bavaria I can say that the flag of a county would be never used by citizens. Not because it would be strictly forbidden, but because
the county level has no attractive for the people, it is just an administration. Nobody has emotional ties to the county, as one has perhaps to his/her town/city or municipality. So people in some municipalities would use the municipal flag, but never the county flag. Furthermore nobody knows the county flag, anyway!
Marcus Schmöger, 8 Nov 2001
There are nine county-free cities (kreisfreie Städte) in Baden-Württemberg.
I have got flag images for four of them - Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Stuttgart and Ulm
- the first three of which I drew from scratch after the images at the Flag Data Bank website. For the other county-free cities in that state I have no images, just descriptions from Stadler 1964-1971 (to be treated with a bit of caution).
Stefan Schwoon, 4 Mar 2001
(Editor's note: read the explanation about Stadler 1964-1971 in introduction to German civic flags; jba).
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