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Baselland canton (Switzerland)

half-canton (aka Basel-Landschaft canton, Baselbiet)

Last modified: 2024-06-29 by martin karner
Keywords: switzerland | basel | baselland | half-canton | german |
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[Flag of Baselland] image by António Martins

See also:

Description of the flag

Blazon by Mühlemann (1991): Arms: In Silber ein linksgewendeter roter Bischofsstab (Baselstab) mit sieben roten Krabben (gotischen Verzierungen) am Knauf.

Flag: In Weiss ein von der Fahnenstange abgewendeter roter Bischofsstab (Baselstab) mit sieben roten Krabben am Knauf.
António Martins, 23 June 2000

Translated: Arms: Argent a Crosier contourné Gules (crosier of Basel) with seven Crabs Gules (Gothic ornaments) on the knob.

Flag: Argent a Crosier contourné Gules (crosier of Basel) with seven Crabs Gules (Gothic ornaments) on the knob addossed the hoist.
Jarig Bakker
, 24 June 2000

Symbolism of the flag

The bishop's crozier has three well accepted meanings since early Christianity: It is a support or guide (the shepherd's crook that saves straying sheep), an emblem of authority and ministration, and a instrument of punishment and correction. The seven bosses or roundels on the crozier of Basel-Landschaft are actually a Gothic architectural device, and represent the former districts of that canton.
T.F. Mills, 22 October 1997

History of the flag

The half-canton was split from Basel-city in 1832. The citizens adopted a reverse orientation (towards the sinister) of the crosier, effectively turning their backs on their previous affiliation. The seven roundels represent the seven counties of the Canton. On April 1, 1947, the position of the crosier was reaffirmed by the governing council.
Source: Angst (1992), "A Panoply of Colours: The Cantonal Banners of Switzerland and the Swiss National Flag".
Phil Nelson
, 14 October 1998

I can't remember when they split but Baselland has only 5 districts. The reason why Baselland split from Basel-Stadt was because they city had an argument with the countryside and they ended up sentencing 7 people from the countryside to their death. That is why Baselland decided to split and they changed their flag to face the other way, changed the color to red because that is the color of blood and the seven red bosses represent the 7 people who died.
Sarah Tschudin, 27 November 2006

A few remarks on the above comment. The separation of the country and the city started in 1832 when the rural communities broke away from the city and declared themselves a new canton. The city didn't accept this and in the battle at Frenkendorf on 3 August 1833 the troops of the city were defeated by those of the countryside. Thereupon the Assembly of the Swiss Confederation (Tagsatzung) which had recognized the separation from the beginning, declared the final division of the canton.
The reason for the division was that the city reversed in the Restoration era the egalitarian achievements of the Helvetic Republic and abolished equality for the rural population (Originally, the countryside was the subject territory of the city). In the cantonal parliament, the 40 percent city dwellers held 60 percent of the seats, which the rural population no longer accepted.
The seven people sentenced to death have nothing to do with the events of the separation. They were executed in the peasant revolt of 1653 against the city. The attribution of the Basel staff's seven bosses to the seven rebels is a popular but unsupported explanation. The explanation that they represent the seven districts of the ancient countryside seems logical, but is also unsupported.
The last attempt at reunification of the two cantons was in 2014, when the voters of Basel-Stadt supported reunification with 55 percent, but those of Basel-Landschaft rejected it with 68 percent.
Martin Karner, 20 January 2023

Joseph M. Galliker reports in Schweizer Wappen und Fahnen, Vol. 7 that in 1851 the government of Baselland canton issued an declaration about the meaning of the flag with its red Basel staff or "Siebedupf" (seven-dot) as it is called popularly. Concerning the seven dots or bosses it says that they represent the seven districts (bailiwicks) of the ancient land under the city's jurisdiction (Farnsburg [small banner, 16th c.], Homburg, Waldenburg, Liestal, Münchenstein, Riehen and Kleinhüningen).
It remains to be asked why the government only proclaimed this almost 20 years after the founding of the canton. Perhaps it had something to do with the persistent popular story of the seven rebels executed in the 17th century that the government didn't want to give an official touch to.
Martin Karner, 8 February 2023

[Stained glass plate (1583) with former coat of arms of Liestal. The emblem of Baselland's most important city (later the capital of the new canton) was taken as a model for the new cantonal flag. Liestal's emblem thus has been changed to its present form (source). –
Friendship flag Baselland – Vaud (1845). Broad white cross traversante with red-white flames in the corner fields (on both sides). Reverse side (this photo): In the center red Basel staff in front of fasces with plume hat, surrounded by a wreath, below it the inscription "1845". Obverse side: In the center two intertwined hands, around them the inscription: Par leurs frères d'armes Vaudois (From their Vaudoisian brothers in arms) (source: [b7b42], b/w photo). –
Stained glass plate (1961) by Verena de Nève, with angel holding the cantonal CoA. Location: government building, Frauenfeld TG (source)]

Colour Flag

[Colour Flag BL] image located by Martin Karner

Simple rectangular cantonal flag, as shown in Mader (1942) (So-called colour flag [Farbenfahne in German]. See also postcard from 1921).
Martin Karner

Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours




[livery colours]

images by Pascal Gross

Flaggen are vertically hoisted from a crossbar in the manner of gonfanon, in ratio of about 2:9, with a swallowtail that indents about 2 units. The chief, or hoist (square part) usually incorporates the design from the coat of arms – not from the flag. The fly part is always divided lengthwise, usually in a bicolour, triband or tricolour pattern (except Schwyz which is monocolour, and Glarus which has four stripes of unequal width). The colours chosen for the fly end are usually the main colours of the coat of arms, but the choice is not always straight forward.

Knatterfahnen are similar to Flaggen, but hoisted from the long side and have no swallow tail. They normally show the national, cantonal or communal flag in their chiefs.
Željko Heimer
, 16 July 2000

Early 20th century flag design

image located by Martin Karner

At the beginning of the 20th century, flamed flags were still in use, with the white cross replaced by a (baroque) shield in the centre of the flag. These decorative flags had been used until WWII and then somewhat forgotten in preference of the current cantonal flags. [Today they are being produced again, see image]
Pascal Gross, 30 June 2002

See also:   - Other examples of "Early 20th century flag design": CH, AG, AI, AR, BE, BS, FR, GE, GL, GR, JU, LU, NE, NW, OW, SG, SH, SO, SZ, TG, TI, UR, VD, VS, ZG, ZH
                 - Modern flamed flags


image located by Martin Karner (8 May 2024)