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Obwalden canton (Switzerland)


Last modified: 2024-06-29 by martin karner
Keywords: switzerland | obwalden | key | canton | half-canton | german |
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[Flag of Obwalden] image by António Martins

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[The coat of arms with the one-bearded key is taken from the old state seal, with which the oldest federal letter from 1291 and the following federal letters were sealed. This seal was made around 1240 for the "lower valley" (Nidwalden). By supplementing the inscription with the addition "et vallis superioris" ("and the upper valley") it became the state seal of the entire Unterwalden canton after 1291. Since the middle of the 14th century, when Nidwalden had its own seal, this seal was also used as the status seal of Obwalden. The respective Landammann (governor) used to keep it in his home until very recently. Today it is kept in the Obwalden State Archives (source). –
Banner of Obwalden, carried in the Burgundian Wars (1474–77) (source: [b7b42]). –
Julius Banner (1512), with apostle Peter on the upper red half, holding two keys (or a double-key) upright (probably referring to the legend of the Unterwalden keys). Peter turns his face towards the Crucifixion scene in the upper corner at the hoist. The inscription along the borders of the banner was added some decades later (some suppose in 1552), it was the same text as on the Julius Banner of Nidwalden. For the wording and translation of the inscription and the legend behind it see the picture section on the Nidwalden page. (source: [b7b42])]

Colour Flag

[Colour Flag OW] image by Ole Andersen

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

Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours

    [Knatterfahnen] 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


image located by Martin Karner (8 May 2024)