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Flags of German Dockyards

Flaggen deutscher Werften

Last modified: 2019-08-26 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: blohm voss | julius grube | lindenau | lux | mtw | norderwerft | rheinwerft | stuelcken | xylon | deutsche werft |
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[Germany] 3:5 image by António Martins-Tuválkin
German merchant ensign Other Dockyards: See also:

Blohm & Voss

[Blohm & Voss Werft (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 May 2009

Blohm & Voss shipyards
Brief history: The company is located in Hamburg and nowadays a company of Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems. It was established in Hamburg on 5 April 1877 by Hermann Blohm and Ernst Voss as a dockyard and mechanical engineering company. In 1882 the company started a ship repair branch. Already in 1905 the company has rented world greatest dockyard area incl. 550,000 sqm and 3 km waterfront. In 1913 Voss was leaving the board. One year later WW1 broke out, The dockyard produced 96 submarines, 6 destroyers and one small cruiser for German Imperial Navy.
In 1927 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. Till then it had built 429 vessels for both, merchant fleet and the navy, 35 of them for HAPAG, 29 for Hamburg-Süd, 22 for Woermann Linie and 20 for Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie. In 1933 the sailing ship GORCH FOCK was completed. During WW2 the company produced 238 submarines, another 17 had been planned. Since 1942 the company also built speed submarines.
In 1955 the company is changed and renamed into Blohm & Voss AG. Phönix-Rheinruhr AG acquires 50% of the shares.
Since 1958 the company specializes its production, now mainly refrigerator ships and car transport ships were built. In 1968 the first container ship ELBE EXPRESS is handed over to HAPAG.
In 1980 the company created new standards in war ship building by inventing MEKO (reg. trademark) technology, which was used in new types of frigates. 32 MEKO-frigates or corvettes are built or ordered by various navies. In 1985 four containerships of HAPAG were modernized and prolongated.
The company was developing innovative technologies also in the following years. In 2005 the Thyssen Krupp dockyards and HDW group merged and Blohm & Voss was incorporated into Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems.
For further information click: company webpage

Description of flag: It is a blue flag charged with two yellow rings, ordered like a wedding-ring-symbol. In each ring is a yellow, serifed capital: “B”(hoist) and “V”(fly). In the ring’s intersection is a yellow “&”.
Source: I spotted this flag on 12 April 2009 at the entrance of the company.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 May 2009

Deutsche Werft

[Deutsche Werft #1]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Aug 2019
[Deutsche Werft #2]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Aug 2019

In 1918 Hamburgian ship owner Albert Ballin had the vision of a big German dockyard in Hamburg and acquired suitable real estates in Hamburg-Finkenwerder. The plan was to re-establish a German merchant fleet after the defeat in WW1. 10,000,000 Mark were spent in order to establish Deutsche Werft AG, 50% of the money came from Gutehoffnungshütte (GHH), 40% from Allgemeine Elektricitäts Gesellschaft (AEG) and 10% from Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien- Gesellschaft (HAPAG).
In 1925 the worlds biggest motor vessels were built by Deutsche Werft, the MS SVEALAND und MS AMERICALAND, freighters for transport of ore. The dockyard also built special ships and tankers and had become world wide number one in 1938, when a diesel-electric hybrid ship the MS PATRIA was finished.
After the end of WW2 all the enviromnment of the company was destroyed. But already in 1953 the dockyard was again one of the best dockyards all over the world. But business declined due to circumstances beyond the dockyard's control.
Thus in 1967 the company merged with Howaldtswerke Hamburg AG and Kieler Howaldswerke AG and became the Hamburg branch of HDW - Howaldstwerke Deutsche Werft AG. Source: information provided by Klaus-Peter Büühne

The flag was white parted by a blue saltire. In centre was a white disc fimbriated blue and chrges with a blue inscription "DW", either smaller "D" over "W" (see left image above), or both of equal size and the "D" shifted to the hoist (see right image above).
Sources: 1st image based on photo by Klaus-Peter Büühne and 2nd image spotted in Winterhude on a flee market.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Aug 2019

Gebr. Friedrich Werft

[Gebr. Friedrich Werft (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, based on an image sent by Jan Mertens, 17 Aug 2007

The German shipyard ?Gebr[üder] (i.e. Brothers, jm) Friedrich GmbH & Co. KG? is established at Kiel, still a family business, and maintains a website (German only): A member of ?Deutsche Yachten? (the German Yachting Industry Pool), Gebr. Friedrich does not limit itself to building motor yachts or overhauling sailing ships.  Repairs are carried out worldwide, electric equipment installed or serviced by subsidiary ?Gebrüder Friedrich Industrie und Elektrotechnik?, machines and piping installed, boat houses designed and built, etc.
Some details from the ?History? section: founded in 1921 by Johann and Wilhelm Friedrich at Kiel; fourth generation family business always carried on, remarkably, by successive daughters putting their husbands at work in the firm. Present entrepreneur Klaus Birr, leading a work force of about sixty employees, has compensated for diminishing official building programmes and subsidizing of former GDR yards by intensive follow-up and cost saving measures based on sound ecological principles.
Shown on the site is a drawing of the house flag: white triangle based on the hoist and touching the fly, upper triangle blue, lower triangle red; in the white field, serifed and italic blue initials ?GF? to the right of which are placed three thin wavy lines in blue. I have not yet found any photos showing this flag but a German eBay offer, now closed, showed what seems to be a forerunner. The difference mainly consists in the initials being without serifs and partly enclosed in an open box shape, slanted as the intials are and vaguely recalling a ship?s bow.  (Item no. 120072677330 offered by our friend ?vexillologe?, end of offer 14 Jan 2007, dimensions of table flag given as 15 cm x 24 cm.)
Jan Mertens, 17 Aug 2007

Julius Grube

[Julius Grube Werft (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 28 Feb 2009

The company is based in Hamburg. It is a red flag with a white lozenge containing black, serifed capitals "JG".
I spotted an image of this flag on the dockyard's wall in Hamburg-Billwerder in September 2008.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 28 Feb 2009

Paul Lindenau

[Paul Lindenau dockyard (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Jul 2012

Paul Lindenau Gmbh & Co KG is a dockyard located in Kiel. The flag is divided per saltire into green (hoist and fly) and white (top and bottom). In the centre is a red oval showing a yellow L-shaped tower on top of a ship flanked by two hoisting platforms of the same colour.
Source: I spotted stick pins of both flags on 21 May 2012 at Brendler's shop. Brendler is a taylor. His specialities are navy uniforms and clothes for use in the tropics.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Jul 2012


[Lux-Werft (Germany)] image sent by Jan Mertens, 28 Jun 2007

Lux-Werft is a German inland shipbuilder established at Niederkassel-Mondorf on the Rhine between Cologne and Bonn. "Lux-Werft und Schiffahrt GmbH" (i.e. Lux Shipyard and Shipping) has a modest web presence, German only: Founded in 1945 by Johann Lux, builder of light boats, developed into a constructor of large river cruise ships as witness some photos on the site. Have a look, again, at the"?River Dream" flying the Lux-Werft pennant on the bow: dark blue pennant, lined white - except alongside the staff -  bearing white words "LUX-WERFT" stretched so as to completely fill up the field. The white lining looks more like a fimbriation but - as is the case in the drawing - there does not seem to be a lining, or fimbriation, alongside the staff.
Jan Mertens, 28 Jun 2007


[Mathias-Thesen-Werft (Germany)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 Jul 2012

VEB Mathias-Thesen-Werft (MTW) was established on 31 October 1951, after a former ship repair service of the Red Army and a few smaller dockyards in Wismar had merged. Before crisis in ship building the company had 1300 employees, today remained about 600. MTW built various ships for the merchant and fishery fleets of the GDR and other COMECON states. On 1 June 1990 the company was transformed into the legal form of a GmbH due to economic changes after German reunion, and later on renamed into MTW Schiffswerft GmbH, MTW was understood to be "Meeres Technik Werft". The company's ownership changed several times: Bremer Vulkan (1992), Norwegian Aker RGI (1998), Wadan Yards (2008) and finally Nordic Yards (2009).
The flag of Mathias-Thesen-Werft is blue and a yellow inscription "MTW" is shifted to the hoist. Below are four yellow waves with the word "WISMAR" between the upper and the 2nd wave. A yellow wavy inscription "VEB Mathias Thesen Werke" is superimposing the "MTW" inscription.
Source: I spotted this flag in Wismar Historical Museum on 22 August 2008
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Jul 2012


[Norderwerft houseflag (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Jul 2009

Norderwerft GmbH & Co KG - The company is located in Hamburg-Steinwerder and was established on 1 August 1906 by a certain Mr. Holtz, owner of Schlosswerft Hamburg. The main customers were the Imperial Navy, the senate of Hamburg and many foreigners. The docks increased in 1912.
After WW1 the dock yard was bought by Hamburgian merchants, being aware of the fact, that within the next years a new merchant fleet would be needed. The dock yard merged with Elbewerft in Boizenburg and was therefore renamed as Vereinigte Elbe- und Norderwerft. Both dock yards were however separated again in 1921. The company was renamed again as Norderwerft AG. The company had nearly 1,000 employees. In 1936 it was changed into a private company and renamed again as Norderwerft Köser und Meyer.
After WW2 the company was restarted doing small business. In 1948 the first new built ship was generated.
In 1972 J.J.Sietas overtook the company and it got its current name since then.

Description of flag:
It is a white flag divided by a black saltire, which is cotized white and red. In the hoist quarter is a black capital "N", in the fly quarter a black capital "W". In the centre of the flag is a red disc, fimbriated black, showing the white castle from Hamburg's coat of arms.
Source: I spotted this flag on 10 April 2009 in Hamburg-Steinwerder.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Jul 2009

Rheinwerft Walsum

[Rheinwerft Walsum] image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 May 2009

Here is some additional information concerning Rheinwerft (i.e. Rhine Wharf) at Walsum near Duisburg on the Rhine.
Some facts are gleaned from: Barend van Lange & Bert Kruidhof: "Van deur tot deur over zee. De historie van de kustvaart 1945-1970" (i.e. From Door to Door By Sea.  The history of [Dutch] coastal shipping 1945-1970), De Alk, Alkmaar, 2000, 144 p., ills., ISBN 90 6013 091 X.
Rheinwerft Walsum was established in 1921, near the terminal for British ore operated by Gutehoffnungshütte founded by, among others, Franz Haniel. Many inland vessels were built there but immediately after WW2 only repairs were allowed. After 1949 new building started again and now included sea-going ships; this activity lasted till, I believe, 1982.
Have a look at this fine model of Rheinwerft Walsum: P. 90 of above book shows the Dutch coaster Esma B about to be baptised (2 May 1956), the wharf flag as yet covering the name.  A further photo, not attached, has the flag hanging upside-down right after the ceremony. Image from "Flaggen auf dem Rhein" (1952 ed.).
Horizontally divided black-white-green (known as the Haniel house flag) with a white composite monogram in the hoist corner: one "G" and two joined "H" can be made out. Admittedly the photo is the better rendering but then the 1952 flag book had to make most of a small space.
A dark-coloured wharf pennant, colours unknown, had the light-coloured monogram near the upper hoist and the name "Rheinwerft" filling body and fly. Possibly white on black. Van Lange & Kruidhof show this pennant flying on ?Necton? during trials on the Nieuwe Waterweg (p.95) but it may also be seen here (vaguely), second from left:
Klaus-Peter Bühne's excellent site MarCollect shows two related Gutehoffnungshütte flags.
Again I put forward my little theory about the origin of Haniel's colours: black and white for Prussia, green for hope (Hoffnung).
Jan Mertens, 24 May 2009

Sietas Werft

[Sietas Werft] image sent by Jan Mertens, 28 Aug 2007

"J.J. Sietas KG Schiffswerft GmbH u. Co." meaning "Sietas Wharf" in short is established at Hamburg, more exactly at the place where the little river Este joins the Elbe.  English version of obsolete company website, showing a modest little pennant: "One of the oldest family-owned shipyards in the world," Sietas has a very distinguished history starting in 1635 building wooden vessels for local traffic and fishing boats.   The wharf started building schooners from 1870 on; steel made its entrance in 1908 but WW1 and inflation stopped shipbuilding, leaving repairs, till 1933.  From then on the construction of coasters relaunched the wharf; another milestone was the first true container ship, built 1966.  Nowadays the versatile firm employs about 900 people. "Versatile" as exemplified by the "Products" section showing a wide array of passenger and cargo ships (Ro/Ro of Ro/Lo, container, heavy loads, coasters, tankers, fishing boats, etc.).  Partnerships include Norderwerft, a repair and conversion wharf (nice house flag).

A blue pennant is shown as a drawing, bearing white initials "J.J. Sietas" (standing for "Johann Jacob" I believe). 
Here is a picture, part of another German eBay offer (item no. 180128662301, valid till 18 June 2007, dimensions given as 300 x 400 mm).   The colour is admittedly different but could be the result of ageing: it was part of a rather old file.
Jan Mertens, 28 Aug 2007

H.C.Stülcken Sohn

[H.C.Stülcken Sohn] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007

H.C.Stülcken Sohn - H.C.Stülcken was a shipbuilder and carpenter and ran a dockyard in the 19th century. It was common to build ships on your own risk without any offer, so that the shipbuilders could keep their staff of well-trained carpenters. Sometimes a ship couldn't be sold however and so Stülcken had his first own ship in 1865 built by his own dockyard. The shipping company existed until 1906 when its last ship was sold to Föhrtmann & Behne. The dockyard however existed until 1966 and merged then with Blohm & Voss. The company used a red flag with a white diamond with red serifed letters "St", the "t" had half size of the "S" and was superimposed onto the "S".
Source: Jürgen Meyer: "Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945" , ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.73ff.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007

The MarCollect site - the work of Klaus-Peter Bühne - shows a variant, of a much later date I suppose, as a table flag (top of page):
We learn that the wharf was founded in 1840 by father J.H. Friedrich Stücklen and that his son Heinrich Christoph had a little wharf of his own next to it starting 1845, uniting both businesses as H.C. Stülcken Werft in 1853 on the father's retirement.
On the MarCollect photo the flag is red with a narrow white border and bears a white lozenge with red initials "St" (the "t" indeed lower case but following the "S").

The date of the Blohm & Voss takeover is given as 14 February 1966.
Jan Mertens, 23 Mar 2007

Xylon Werft

[Xylon Werft (Germany)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 10 May 2011

The Xylon boat building wharf at Mannheim, on the River Rhine, Germany: is presented in this modest website (German only; to be developed)
Founded in 1956 and named after "xylos" i.e. "wood" in Greek, the company has specialized in building high quality boats and yachts.Shown as a drawing on the website, attached as [de~xylo.gif] , the house flag or rather pennant has a red panel bearing a yellow saltire or indeed "X" near the hoist and a blue fly bearing the name "XYLOS" in white letters without serifs. this clickable photo shows DELPHIN of the Tummler 81 classe, actually flying this pennant:
I should add that red and yellow are colours we also find in Mannheim's coat of arms:
For further information click here
Jan Mertens, 10 May 2011

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