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Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)

State of Schleswig-Holstein, Land Schleswig-Holstein

Last modified: 2020-03-10 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: schleswig-holstein | per pale | lion(blue) | lions(2) | nettle leaf(white) |
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[State Flag (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] 3:5 image by M. Schmöger
approved 18 January 1957 On this page: On other pages: Flags of or related to Schleswig-Holstein See also:


A province of Prussia until 1946, Schleswig-Holstein was declared a Land by the British Military Government on 23 August 1946.
M. Schmöger, 26 Mar 2001

State Flag (also naval jack of official ships)

[State Flag (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] 3:5 image by M. Schmöger
approved 18 January 1957

Blue-white-red horizontal tricolor with state arms at center. Adopted officially 1949. Illustrated Smith 1975 p. 227 and Dorling Kindersley 1997 p. 122.
Norman Martin, 22 January 1998

The proportions are 3:5 according to the Gesetz über die Hoheitszeichen des Landes Schleswig-Holstein von 18. Januar 1957 (Act on Symbols of the State of Schleswig-Holstein of 18th January 1957), published in the Verordnungsblatt für Schleswig-Holstein (Schleswig-Holstein Acts Bulletin), 1957, p. 29-31. In my opinion, the blue of the lions should be the same as in the stripe.
M. Schmöger, 21 February 2001

     The state flag shows the arms in the center of the Landesflagge. According to the sketches attached to the relevant law the arms have 50% of the flag height. The state flag was officially introduced in 1957 with the Gesetz über die Hoheitszeichen des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (Law on State Symbols of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein) of 18th January 1957, published in the Gesetz- und Verordnungsblatt für Schleswig-Holstein 1957, p. 29-31.
     On ships in official use (e.g. police) the state flag is also used together with either the Bundesflagge (black-red-gold) or the Bundesdienstflagge — one of these is used as ensign, the Schleswig-Holstein state flag as jack. This was prescribed in the Beschluß der Landesregierung betr. Flaggenführung der See- und Binnenschiffen im öffentlichen Dienst (Decision of the Federal State Government regarding Flag Usage on Seagoing and Inland Waters Ships in Official Service) of 26th October 1954, published in the Amtsblatt Schleswig-Holstein 1955, p. 126.
     Sources: Laitenberger and Bassier 2000, Schurdel 1995 and Mattern and Neubecker 1988.
M. Schmöger, 26 March 2001

Civil Flag

[Civil Flag (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] 3:5 image by Santiago Dotor
flag introduced c.1843, banned 1845, reintroduced 1867, abolished 1935, unofficially readopted 29 August 1948, officially approved 18 January 1957

In use since 1848 (unofficially 4 or 5 years earlier) until the present (except for 1935-1948). Readopted officially 1957. Illustrated in Pedersen 1970 p. 32.
Norman Martin, 22 January 1998

The flag was re[-e]stablished by the British [occupation forces] in the autumn of 1948 and was adopted on 8 August 1949. The regulation is dated 25 October 1949, and the first official hoist was on 29 October 1949. Source: Ottfried Neubecker, Vexilla Belgica 1981.
Jaume Ollé, June or July 1998

The blue-white-red triband was introduced officially in August 1948 after some debate with the British Military Government and was first hoisted 29th August 1948. There were some preliminary laws and regulations on flags in 1949 and 1952, but only in 1957 (see below) the civil flag was definitely described. Until then it was always called the überlieferte Farben Schleswig-Holsteins (traditional colours of Schleswig-Holstein).
Sources: Laitenberger and Bassier 2000, Schurdel 1995 and Mattern and Neubecker 1988.
M. Schmöger, 26 March 2001

State Banner reported 1948

[Schleswig-Holstein state banner 1948 (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Apr 2014
(click on image in order to augment it)

The banner(reverse shown) is a blue - white -red vertical tricolour with arms in the centre of the banner.
Sources: Kuhn 1991, p. 90 and Hormann and Plaschke 2006, p.194
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Apr 2014


[Coat-of-Arms (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] image by Santiago Dotor

The charge in the sinister half of the coat-of-arms is known in German heraldry as a Nesselblatt or nettle leaf. According to Neubecker 1997, p. 134:

"...the German word the heraldic term for a zig-zag bordure, which already in the late Middle Ages was becoming divorced from its original meaning. As time went by this mysterious charge became increasingly distorted and its triangular points were even regarded as the nails from the cross of Christ." In the same page there is a "flag of Holstein" from an old flag chart. The flag was an interpretation of the "Gules a Nesselblatt Argent" blazon, in which the artist mistranslated Nesselblatt as nettle tree. Hence the flag showed a white tree on a red field! Just an indication to the frequently scarce reliability of old flag charts.
Santiago Dotor, May 1999

The nettle leaf - and the nails - has confused heraldists quite a lot. Originally, it was just a white shield with a red zigzag border. But when drawing the zigs and zags, the corners usually become more pointy than the other zigs and zags, leading to the interpretation that they alluded to Christ's three nails from the cross. Pure humbug, of course. The white shape was also disconnected from its heraldic origins, and became blazoned as a nettle leaf, leading some painters to draw it natural-looking.
Ole Andersen, 18 May 1999

The arms of Schleswig takes up the first field in the arms of Schleswig-Holstein — it is parted per pale with the arms of Holstein and is turned in courtoisie, a usual practice in German heraldry when two arms are put together thus. The arms of Schleswig takes up the second field in the Greater State Arms of Denmark, as can be seen in the Danish royal standard.
Elias Granqvist, 31 July 2001

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