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Flag Variants (Bavaria, Germany)

Last modified: 2011-06-10 by editor unassigned
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Introduction

The Bavarian flag comes in 10 different (main) types, most of which also have different variants. Possibility for variation are the shade of blue, the ratio (proportion length:height) and the number and arrangement of the lozenges (in the lozengy types). The main types are:
     
  1. horizontal flags, striped white over blue
  2. horizontal flags, lozengy of white and blue
  3. vertical flags, horizontally striped white over blue
  4. vertical flags, vertically striped white and blue
  5. vertical flags, lozengy of white and blue
  6. horizontal flags, striped white over blue, with greater coat-of-arms or middle arms (greater arms without supporters)
  7. horizontal flags, lozengy of white and blue, with greater coat-of-arms or middle arms (greater arms without supporters)
  8. vertical flags, horizontally striped white over blue, with greater coat-of-arms or middle arms (greater arms without supporters)
  9. vertical flags, vertically striped white and blue, with greater coat-of-arms or middle arms (greater arms without supporters)
  10. vertical flags, lozengy of white and blue, with greater coat-of-arms or middle arms (greater arms without supporters)
All types without arms can be considered official for use as state and civil flag and as civil ensign (on lakes and rivers) [thus ]. The types with arms are not only unofficial, but strictly speaking illegal. However, the de facto used civil flag is in most cases a lozengy flag with the arms (horizontal or vertical).

Marcus Schmöger, 28 January 2001


Horizontal striped flags

[Striped Civil and State Flag (Bavaria, Germany)] image by Marcus Schmöger

The first type is horizontal flags, striped white over blue:
This is the simplest variant of the Bavarian flag. You can see it at border posts or as civil ensign on river and lake ships and boats. Otherwise you do not see it frequently:

[Striped Civil and State Pennant (Bavaria, Germany)] image by Marcus Schmöger

This is a triangular pennant striped white over blue. This is used by public transport authorities on buses and tramways, but only during festivities, e.g. the Oktoberfest:

[Multistriped Civil and State Flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 2:3 image Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2001

This is a Bavarian flag striped white over blue five times. This recalls historical flags used in the 17th to 19th century. I saw this flag only once, during the Oktoberfest 2000 in front of one of the bigger beer tents (Bräurosl):

Bavarian citizens do not regard the simple bicolor an appropriate flag. At least the flag has to have lozenges, and even better if it has the arms on it. I never saw the Bavarian bicolor used by a citizen, just (several variants) by State authorities or as civil ensign on ships.
Marcus Schmöger, 11 Feb 2001

Just for information, the simple bicolor was widely used by Bavarian civilians during late April and early May 1945, in territories recently occupied by American troops. I guess people intended (sincerely or otherwise) to show anti-Nazi sentiment (and probably easier to make then any flags except white ones). (...) Other Bavarian flags were rare.
Norman Martin, 12 Feb 2001


Horizontal lozengy flags

The second type is horizontal flags, lozengy of white and blue:
[Lozengy Civil and State Flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 2:3 image by Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2001

This is the lozengy flag with 21 lozenges depicted in Smith 1975, Smith 1980 and Stadler 1965. I have never seen such a flag actually flying, it can only be found in flag books.

[78-Lozenges Civil and State Flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 image by Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2001

This is a variant of a lozengy flag I have seen and photographed three weeks ago. This is quite typical for the horizontal lozengy flags; it contains 78 lozenges (including incomplete ones):

[79-Lozenges Civil and State Flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 image by Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2001

This is another variant with 79 lozenges, made after a small image from a flag manufacturer's website.

[Multistriped Civil and State Pennant (Bavaria, Germany)]

This picture is taken directly from the Bavaria website and shows a waving Bavarian flag:

There are certainly many other variants of this type. I will send images of some of them soon. The angle of the lines forming the lozenges is not prescribed.
Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2001

I seem to recall that any variation is allowed, provided that (a) no less than 21 lozenges or fraction thereof are shown and (b) the topmost hoist lozenge is white. The second image above (de-by2b.gif) appears not to follow this second rule.
The picture from the Bavarian website appears to show about 42 lozenges or fractions of them. The topmost hoist lozenge appears to be white but only 'touches' the corner, rather than being 'cut' by the corner's edges.
Santiago Dotor, 30 Jan 2001

Regarding the second image (de-by2b.gif) which Marcus Schmöger seems to imply is the 'most popular' design, it does not 'start' with a white lozenge. Is the 'white lozenge first' rule generally ignored? Is it unknown to the general public?
Željko Heimer, 31 Jan 2001

That is right, the regulations of 1971 (and before of 1953) say, "the upper right corner of the flag cloth is reserved for a cut white lozenge". However no one really cares if there is a white or blue, whole or cut lozenge in the upper hoist corner. The rule of 'white lozenge first' is not only unknown to the general public - I would even bet that more than 90% of higher officials, state secretaries and ministers do not know the rule. There is such a variety of Bavarian flags (part of which I show in this page) with vertical and horizontal flags, with or without arms etc. This the renowned Liberalitas Bavariae!
Marcus Schmöger, 2 Feb 2001


Vertical lozengy flags

The fifth type is vertical flags, lozengy of white and blue, without arms:
     
  • This variant used in great numbers during the Oktoberfest 2000. The center of Munich (e.g. Marienplatz) was full of these flags. There were always groups of these flags together with Munich flags of the same design (lozengy of black and yellow):
  • [Vertical lozengy flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:1 
    by Marcus Schmöger
  • This is one of several variants used in front of one of the beer tents during the Oktoberfest 2000:
  • [Vertical lozengy flag (Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2 
    by Marcus Schmöger
Marcus Schmöger, 27 Feb 2001

Horizontal Striped Flags with Coat-of-Arms

[Flag Variant, Horizontal Striped with 'Middle' Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 2:3 image by Marcus Schmöger

The sixth type is horizontal flags, striped white over blue, with arms. The above example shows the greater arms without supporters (unofficial middle arms). You can find these flags frequently in flagshops. It is not as popular as the lozengy flag with arms.
Marcus Schmöger, 2 Feb 2001


Horizontal Lozengy Flags with Coat-of-Arms

Actually only state authorities of higher and middle rank are entitled to use the greater arms. However, in the last years more and more people think it is appropriate to use flags showing the Bavarian lozenges and on them the greater arms. There are many variants of this (decidedly unofficial) flag some of them even have the text Freistaat Bayern under the arms, some show the arms on an oval disk, some show the arms directly on the lozenges. Actually state authorities obviously do not interfere in using these types of flags.
Marcus Schmöger, 14 Aug 2000

The seventh type is horizontal flags, lozengy of white and blue, with arms. Variants of this flag are the most frequently used ones by Bavarian citizens, although they are strictly speaking illegal. One can consider this flag the de facto civil flag of Bavaria.

[Flag Variant, Horizontal Lozengy with 'Middle' Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 image by Marcus Schmöger

This is the lozengy flag with the greater arms without supporters (unofficial middle arms):

[Flag Variant, Horizontal Lozengy with Greater Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 2:3 image by Marcus Schmöger

This is the lozengy flag with the whole greater arms. A variant of this even shows the inscription Freistaat Bayern beneath the arms.

[Flag Variant, Horizontal Lozengy with Coat-of-Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 2:3 image by Marcus Schmöger

This is a variant of the lozengy flag with the greater arms on a white oval. An example is the 'Bavaria yacht ensign' reported by Dov Gutterman from the online catalogue of Adria Bandiera.
Marcus Schmöger, 2 Feb2001


Vertical Flags, Horizontally Striped with Coat-of-Arms

[Vertical Flag Variant, Horizontally Striped with 'Middle' Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2 
by Marcus Schmöger

The eighth type is vertical flags, divided horizontally white over blue, with arms. The above example shows the greater arms without supporters (unofficial middle arms).
Marcus Schmöger, 2 Feb 2001


Vertical Flags, Vertically Striped with Coat-of-Arms

[Vertical Flag Variant, Vertically Striped with 'Middle' Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 10:3 
by Marcus Schmöger

The ninth type is vertical flags, divided vertically white-blue, with arms. The above example shows the greater arms without supporters (unofficial middle arms). I do not recall having seen such a flag in recent days. However, it was the semiofficial variant for display at the end of the forties, for example in 1950 in the Bundesrat or in 1948 in front of the Museum König in Bonn, where the Parlamentarische Rat (the constituent assembly) met. References: Rabbow 1999, pp. 150-152 and Kuhn 1991, p. 90.
Marcus Schmöger, 2 Feb 2001


Vertical Lozengy Flags with Coat-of-Arms

[Vertical Flag Variant, Lozengy with 'Middle' Arms (Bavaria, Germany)] 14:5
by Marcus Schmöger

The tenth type is vertical flags, lozengy of white and blue, with arms. The above variant shows the greater arms without supporters (unofficial middle arms). For vertical lozengy flags this middle arms are more popular than the greater arms, as these are much wider than high, thus either taking too much width on a vertical flag or being displayed too tinily.
Marcus Schmöger, 27 Feb 2001


vertical flag with whole greater arms

[vertical flag with whole greater arms] image by Marcus Schmöger, 8 Jul 2009

At the entrance of the open-air museum Bad Windsheim, there were hoisted several flags (all of them vertical variants of the "Banner" type): Germany, Bavaria, Central Franconia, Upper Franconia, Lower Franconia.
Ratios were about 4:1 for all of them except for Upper Franconia (3:1).
Otherwise the three district flags were basically like the ones shown at FOTW-ws.

The Bavarian flag, however, was a new variant, that looked somewhat strange to me. It was a vertical flag, striped white-blue, with the whole greater arms in a white rectangular field slightly above the center.
Marcus Schmöger, 8 Jul 2009