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Altona District of Hamburg (Germany)

Stadtbezirk Altona

Last modified: 2012-09-14 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: altona | castle | towers(3) | portcullis | waves(6) | gate(open) | hamburg |
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[Hamburg-Altona town hall flag] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2007

town hall flag of Hamburg-Altona See also:


Brief history:
Altona was a Danish city up to 1864 belonging to the Duchy of Holstein. It was ceded to Austria and Prussia after the war of 1864 in October in the Treaty of Vienna. The victors however were struggling and in the treaty of Gastein in 1865 Holstein with Altona became a subject of Austrian administration. Afterwards in 1865 the treaty was broken by Austria and Holstein was occupied by Prussia and after the German War of 1866 (Austria vs. Prussia) Holstein was ceded to Prussia and finally incorporated into the Prussian state, being part of the new province of Schleswig-Holstein. Altona remained a Prussian city and became in 1937 finally a part of the City of Hamburg.

[Hamburg-Altona flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2007

The name is said to be derived from Niederdeutsch "Al to nah" what means "Far to near" (to Hamburg). The city was a rival of Hamburg. It is said to have used red flags with a gate like Hamburg, but the Altona gate was always open and the Hamburg gate closed. The depicted flag I spotted on 13 May 2005 at the Museumshafen Övelgönne (District Altona). The status of the flag is however not clear because the districts have the status of a nearly exclusive councelling subject.
Especially there do not exist official (current) flags. The depicted flag is obviously a modern version of an Altona-flag. As a proof see the image of the historic coat of arms of the city of Altona (source:

Description of flag:
It has probably the ratio 3:5. It is a red flag with a coat of arms in its centre.
Description of coat of arms:
In a red shield stands a silver(=white) gate over blue water with two black wavy lines. The gate has an open door with golden(=yellow) leafs. You see brickwork in the basemant of the gate. The gate is topped by three equal silver(=white) towers with an open black window each and topped by blue triangular roofs which are topped by a golden ball each.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2007

Altona Town Hall Flag

The flag is red. In the centre ist he coat of arms of the former city without shield but with base oft he shield. The arms display a silver (=white) castle masoned black and having three towers topped by balls of the same colour. The gate is open but there is a silver (=white) portcullis. Beneath the castle are blue waves ordered 3:2:1 and limited by the base of the shield.
A functionary told me, that this flag is a traditional flag only hoisted during the sessions of the district council of Altona. The privileged place in front of the town hall then is taken by the city flag of Hamburg.
The open gate is symbolizing cosmopolitanism, because in former days everybody was allowed to settle down here and to perform his business. While Hamburg was a Lutheran stronghold since the 16th century, in Altona also members of other denominations were welcome, especially followers of other protestant churches and Jews.
Source: I spotted this flag in front of the town hall of Altona in August 2012
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 Sep 2012

Hamburg-Altona Coat of Arms

[Hamburg-Altona CoA] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2007

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