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Austria: Vertical Hoisting of Flags


Last modified: 2016-01-02 by rob raeside
Keywords: hanging flag | vertical | flapping flag | haengeflagge | banner | knatterflagge | hissflagge | triangelfahne | haengefahne | knatterfahne |
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Vertical Hoisting

ratio variable, commonly around 3:10~, by Željko Heimer
[Click for larger view.]

The ratio of the vertical flag is not prescribed (but shown in an accompanying drawing in Album des Pavillons 2000 as close to 3:10~). It is prescribed always to be hoisted from a crossbar, and it is forbidden for the vertical flag to include the coat of arms (though, I could swear I have seen them in use).
Željko Heimer, 20 February 2001

One of the biggest problems for vexillologists in Austria is the widespread use of the so-called "Hausfahnen" or "Hängefahnen".  Their ratio not being prescribed, they come in all lengths - up to 20 meters suspended from rooftops. This tradition goes back centuries, the advantage being of course that in land-locked, no-navy Austria there are times without wind in which vertical flags "do show" while horizontal flags do not unfurl.

Since the state flag was regulated in 1984, the vertical flag with an eagle is slowly going out of use, being discouraged by flagmakers.
Peter Diem, 16 August 2002

Note that vertically hanging flags are part of the Central European tradition, of which Austria is the core, and it would be all but logical that these flags would be then used everywhere else around but in Austria. Vertical flags are in frequent use in Bavaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia etc. As Dr. Diem says, the tradition goes back centuries, and should not be shunned. And, it should not be a problem for vexillologists. They should (as we should on FOTW) note the usage and practice, compare it with legislation etc. Slovenian local flags deal with this problem properly, providing legislative basis for this custom that is certainly backed with the weather conditions and wish for the best, most useful and most decorative flag display.
Željko Heimer, 20 August 2002

Forms of hoisting flags in Germany, Austria and adjacent countries

Hißflagge (a.k.a. Flagge, Hißfahne, Querflagge, Querfahne, horizontale Hißflagge, horizontale Hißfahne)

Hissflagge The Hißflagge (often simply called "Flagge") is the "normal" form known from most countries. It is a flag hoisted on a vertical flagpole. The Hißflagge is wider than high (in Germany and Austria usually 2:3 or 3:5). Stripes of German flags are usually arranged from top to bottom (e.g. black-red-gold). A coat-of-arms is usually displayed in the centre (often slightly shifted to the hoist).
In many parts of Germany (especially in the inland states) and in Austria this type of flag would not be considered as the "normal" or "default" type of a flag by most of the people. In Bavaria, for instance, most of the municipal flags are used as a Banner or Hängeflagge or Knatterflagge. Also the federal flag or the Bavarian flag are more frequently used in a vertical format, even by the Bavarian ministries.

Knatterflagge (a.k.a. Knatterfahne, Hißflagge im Hochformat, Hißfahne im
Hochformat, Hochformatflagge, Hochformatfahne)

Knatterflagge The Knatterflagge (more frequently called "Knatterfahne") is a flag that is hoisted on a flagpole like a "normal" flag. However, it is higher than wide (usually around 3:1). On Knatterflaggen the stripes that are arranged from top to bottom in a Hißflagge, are either arranged from top to bottom as well, or from hoist to fly. There seems to be no standardized way to rearrange a Hißflagge into a Knatterflagge, as pointed out in [jtn96] and also observed by me on several occasions.

Auslegerflagge (a.k.a. Auslegerfahne, Galgenflagge, Galgenfahne, Hochformatflagge mit Ausleger, Hochformatfahne mit Ausleger)

Auslegerflagge This is a variant of the Knatterflagge; it is not only hoisted on the flagpole, but the top of the flag is also fixed to an outrigger, to show the flag fully displayed all the time. This variant is rarely used for official flags, but quite frequently for decorative and commercial flags.

Hängeflagge (a.k.a. Hängefahne, Hausfahne, Schrägfahne)

Hängeflagge The Hängeflagge is directly hoisted from a horizontal flagpole (usually on a building). The Hängeflagge is higher than wide (from, let's say 3:2 up to 6:1 or even more). Stripes, that are arranged from top to bottom in a Hißflagge are arranged from left to right in a Hängeflagge. A coat-of-arms is displayed in upright form, usually in the center or shifted to the top.
A variant is the "Schrägfahne" hoisted from an oblique pole (usually on a building), but hanging down like the Hängeflagge.
The terms "Hängefahne" or "Hängeflagge" are frequently mixed up with the term "Banner".

Banner (a.k.a. Bannerfahne, Triangelfahne)

Banner The Banner is basically a variant of the Hängeflagge. The Banner is first fixed to a crossbar; then this crossbar is hoisted on a normal vertical or horizontal flagpole. The Banner is higher than wide (usually about 5:2 up to 4:1). Stripes, that are arranged from top to bottom in a Hißflagge are arranged from left to right in a Banner. A coat-of-arms is displayed in upright form, usually in the center or shifted to the top.
The terms "Hängefahne" or "Hängeflagge" are frequently mixed up with the term "Banner".

[z2h90] [jtn96] [die95]

Websites of flagmakers and flagsellers with information on the different forms:

M. Schmöger, 26 October 2001 (with some additions 19 August 2003)