Last modified: 2011-05-27 by german editorial team
Keywords: rowing |
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The first rowing club was established in Hamburg in 1836. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century rowing clubs spread out all over the country. Flags of the German rowing clubs had been ladling from many sources. There seem to be more exceptions rather than rules.
There is a predominance of the colours red, blue and white in the 19th century, and also black, red and white, which had been the colours of German Empire. Obviously some flags are inspired by the German merchant ensign and the German Naval ensign.
Predominant colours are also blue and yellow for mail sports clubs (Post SV) and black and white for clubs bearing the name "Preußen" or "Borussia".
A lot of flags have a pattern similar to the US-American flag, having horizontal stripes and a canton. Others seem to be inspired, perhaps in an exaggerative sense, by naval jacks like that ones of the Royal Navy and former Russian imperial navy. But all that is not really convincing.
It is more likely that the patterns of many flags were based upon those of house flags of shipping companies. Just what people living in hinterland thought about the maritime touch. Diestel, the webmaster of Bergedorfer rowing club, assumed that the predominant colours of the era could be produced easily and that they were sun proof and water proof. But there is a lot of speculation and little certain knowledge.
On the other hand some clubs used the colours of their home land as colours of the flag. Some used municipal coats of arms, if they got permission to bear them. Otherwise the coats of arms had been alterated and/or simplified and showed the colours of the club which had been repeated in the sportswear and the patterns of the blades.
In the German Democratic Republic things were different between 1945 and 1990. All sports clubs had been forbidden by allied Control Board after WWII. And they never had been really re-established by East German government. The clubs were replaced by "Betriebssportgemeinschaften", supported and controlled by special production lines. The main purpose however was, that communist party gained a better control. Those communities had been financed by the East German Trade Unions. They faced trouble at the end of GDR in 1990, when the were changed again into private clubs, a bitter lesson for many of its members, who payed ridiculous low fees for memberships. That ended in 1990 and many members were forced to leave the club, also due to a bad development of employment.
The flags in former GDR were rather boaring, for all the clubs had the name names all over the land due to their patrons no matter what kind of sport it was. So all the clubs of the army had the name "ASK Vorwärts", all the clubs of police forces and stasi "SC Dynamo", all the clubs of electricity "SC Turbine". As individuality was not wanted, all those clubs had nearly the same flags. After German reuninion many clubs chose again the traditional names, they had had before and chose their former flags again.
Very common names of the clubs were and are:
RC: Ruderclub (rowing club), adapted to German also as RK: Ruderklub
RV: Ruderverein (rowing association or union)
RG: Rudergesellschaft (rowing society). a term not very popular neither under NS rukle nor communist rule
RGm: Rudergemeinschaft (rowing community), the political correct replacement for RG between 1936 and 1945/1990
WSV Wassersportverein (water sports asociation), often mainly a club for canoeing
RR (Ruderriege), a branch of a multi sports club
Ruderabteilung, the same and
Sektion, the same especially in East Germany
The suffix e.V.: eingetragener Verein (literally: registered association) describes just the legal form of a club.
Modern flags, i.e. since late 20th century, seem to have been designed by fashion.
Klaus-Michael Schneider; 12 Apr 2011
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