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Various Flags (Switzerland)

Last modified: 2024-05-25 by martin karner
Keywords: switzerland |
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Swiss Peace Flag

[Swiss peace flag] image by Evan Rolfe

Similar to the Italian peace flag, but defaced with the Swiss cross instead of "PACE".
Evan Rolfe, 27 June 2004

Switzerland-Iceland Association (Association Suisse-Islande)

[Flag of Switzerland-Iceland Association]

The Switzerland-Iceland Association (Association Suisse-Islande) was founded in 1988 in Geneva (Switzerland) by Léonard Pierre Closuit. Sent in 1978 to Iceland by the Botanical Garden of Geneva, Closuit fell in love with Iceland and founded an association "to promote cultural and artistic exchanges between the two countries". On 25 October 2008, the association held its 19th General Assembly in Martigny (Valais, Switzerland). Reporting the event on 27 October 2008, the newspaper "Le Nouvelliste" shows a photograph of the board members of the association, with the association's flag hanging on the wall. The flag is a combination of the symbols of the two countries. The perspective does not allow to restore the specification of the flag, which appears to be made of an Icelandic flag with the cross centered and a Swiss "cross" superimposed in the middle. The Swiss "cross" is indeed disk-shaped, even if the disk seems to have been "cut" along the outer edges of the cross arms.

More on the banker-explorer Léonard-Pierre Closuit (b. 1931) in the Encyclopaedia of Valais:

Ivan Sache, 3 November 2008

Decorative Swiss and Cantonal Flags (Geneva)

[Decorative Swiss flag]       [Decorative Swiss cantons flags]       [Decor. Swiss cantons flags - postcard]

Aleksandar Nemet noted photographs of the Swiss flag with flames along one edge (picture [source], picture [source]). This is a decorative Swiss national flag, which is (as far as I know) only hoisted on a bridge in Geneva city (Geneva canton). On this bridge all the [cantonal] flags fly together with the Swiss flag for a mere decorative purpose. All these flags on this specific bridge over the Rhodan river, at the outflow from Geneva Lake, show a special pattern, which consists of little flames along one or more borders of the flag [see also postcards from 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with cantonal flags]. Flames, though also sometimes seen in 17th and 18th century military flags all across Europe, are a specific Swiss flag design element since the 17th century until today. Flames may be placed across the flag or in the four areas separated by a white cross in varied ways, or at the edges of a flag or at the edges of a cross, or in any other possible way (like for instance in our case here).
[The referenced pictures here show both the same kind of flag. The flags may be wrapped around the pole like in the second picture and thus give the wrong impression to have the flames only on one side.]
Emil Dreyer, 21 November 2008

The bridge is the famous Mont-Blanc bridge ("pont du Mont-Blanc"), built in 1902–1903 and enlarged in 1964–1965. Photo showing the flag display here (picture). The mountain in the background is Mont Salève, known as the Genevans' Mountain, but located in French territory; when they dug the Lake, the Genevans dropped all the waste in France :-) During the last football European championship the flags were replaced by the official UEFA Euro 2008 Genève flags.
Ivan Sache, 22 November 2008

Maskenliebhaber Guild (Luzern)

image by Antonio Martins-Tuvalkin, 6 November 2016
based on image submitted by Dominique Cureau, 14 July 2009

I saw this flag in Lucerne (Lucerne canton). It represents the head of a man with a cap to 3 balls in yellow on a red background.
Dominique Cureau, 14 July 2009

This is the flag of a Lucerne carnival (mardi gras) guild: The "Maskenliebhaber" guild, formed in 1819 to further friendship and liberal ideas and to support Lucerne carnival and the wearing of masks. You may want to check the Luzerner Fasnacht website for more information (Swiss).
Philippe Macherel, 27 December 2009

This leads us to, the website of the Maskenliebhaber-Gesellschaft der Stadt Luzern ("Society of lovers of masks of the city of Lucerne", but the German has more of a ring to it). This basically tells us that they are a carnival guild from 1819, and thus that they are 200 years old this year [2019] (It tells us more, but this is a carnival guild; hence: Caveat Lector).
Here [retrieved] you see the flags flying from the guild's building (source, retrieved) and here you see the banner (source).
Note that the banner, being a banner, has the name on it. Obviously, the flag that served as our source, being a flag, would not have that. Other guilds definitely also have banners.
The festive ferret might find the links on this page listing the Guilds and Clubs of Lucerne interesting: Zünfte & Vereine Stadt Luzern.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 22 April 2019

Unusual Swiss "Flagge" at Olympic Games in St. Moritz

[Swiss flagge] image located by Martin Karner

A Swiss newspaper published an article about the use of airplanes at the Winter Olympic Games of 1928 and 1948 in St. Moritz (Grisons). One photo from 1948 shows a so-called "Flagge" (vertical banner) with the Swiss cross on red, a vertical flag hoisted from a crossbar in the manner of a gonfanon. The lower end of the flag is not visible. The special thing about the flag is the cross, which is not centered or placed in the hoist as usual with these flags, but offset towards the upper end. It has neither the design of "Flaggen" we present on FOTW with the cross in the hoist and a bicolour fly part. The airplane with the HB-ARU marking is a "Fieseler Storch" Fi-156. These planes could fly very slow and were well suited for photography.
(Source: Südostschweiz am Wochenende/Bündner Zeitung,, 25 February 2023)
Martin Karner, 3 March 2023

Polizeimusik Basel

[Polizeimusik Basel 1]      [Polizeimusik Basel 2] images located by Martin Karner

The Polizeimusik Basel (website) was founded in 1909, it is the representative orchestra of the Cantonal Police of Basel-Stadt. It consists of about 40 musicians who don't have to be members of the police. The range of repertoire contains classical literature to original compositions for wind orchestra, big band arrangements and modern hits. Since 1970, the Polizeimusik Basel has also been active in the field of marching music formations. They had several appearances at home and abroad, e.g. at the Basel Tattoo, the Rose Parade in California (U.S.), the International Police Tattoo in Adelaide (Australia) and divers other police music festivals. One of the greatest events was the participation in the Steuben Parade in New York, followed by a concert at the UN headquarters. The orchestra performs both in a historical uniform, which is faithfully reproduced from an old police uniform from 1909, and in the official representation uniform of the Cantonal Police of Basel-Stadt.
The square flag was created in 2009 for the centenary, it emerged from a competition among the members. It shows the club logo (the black Basel staff covered with an organ pipe) on a white background and a blue-yellow colour ray growing from the bottom right, tapering upwards (The colours blue and yellow do not have an official meaning). At the hoist side is the vertical inscription "POLIZEIMUSIK BASEL", which can be read on the obverse and the reverse (see pictures). In this music video the flag can be seen during a concert alongside the Swiss national and the Basel-Stadt cantonal flag. This picture shows a variant of the logo on a drum, the organ pipe is white instead of black.
Martin Karner, 11 April 2023

See also:   Marcia Vexillum – vexillology and military marches (by Lars C. Stolt, ICV 20, 2003 / For audio file and music sheets see here)

Associazione Ticinese volontari antifascisti di Spagna

[ATVAS] image located by Martin Karner

The Associazione Ticinese volontari antifascisti di Spagna was an association of former volunteer fighters in the Spanish Civil War and friends. It existed from 1976 to 1991. Around 80 citizens of Ticino had joined the Republican forces (over 800 from whole Switzerland). After its dissolution the association's documents were transferred to the Fondazione Pellegrini Canevascini, which is dedicated to the social history of Italian speaking Switzerland. The flags came into the care of the Cantonal Library in Mendrisio. The association's flag is presented on the website of the mentioned foundation. It adopts the colours of the Spanish Republic: purple, yellow and red in a vertical tricolor. The black inscription on the upper half reads: "ass. Ticinese volontari | antifascisti di Spagna | 1936 – 1939". The the first two lines are arranged in an upward arc. The flag has golden fringes on three sides. Measurements: 145x100 cm.
Martin Karner, 18 July 2023

Watchmaker Flag (Neuchâtel canton)

[watchmaker flag] image located by Martin Karner

This flag from 1898 is of the "Federation of sharpeners, dismantlers, refitters and bolt makers in the watch industry" (Fédération des ouvriers repasseurs, démonteurs, remonteurs et faiseurs d'échappements de l'industrie horlogère), Neuchâtel canton. This federation was still a professional fraternity, not a trade union. It was not until 1915 that the watchmakers organized themselves into a trade union at national level, the Swiss Metalworkers' and Watchmakers' Union.
The square flag shows on a light blue or grey field a golden pocket watch, surrounded by a ring on which the zodiac is depicted in similar colours as the clock. The clockwork is visible. A few laurel branches peek out from behind the ring. In front of the ring at the bottom a winged sand glass is depicted. Above and below the watch the motto is arranged in two bows: "L'INTELLIGENCE ET L'ADRESSE / FONT L'EXCELLENT OUVRIER" (Intelligence and skill make the excellent worker). The flag has golden fringes on three sides. Location: Musée d'histoire, La Chaux-de-Fonds (source).
Martin Karner, 24 July 2023

Swiss flag/banner "We love Israel"

[Swiss rectangle flag/banner] (mirrored) image located by William Garrison

A Swiss national flag/banner with special rectangle shape and square arms of the cross. With dark Hebrew writing "We love Israel" (ohavim Israel) and the Latin lettering "we love". The picture is from a pro-Israel demonstration, probably in Israel (no date and location indicated). (picture, source)
located by William Garrison, 25 November 2023

Early 20th century flag design

              images 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. Not only cantonal flags were made with this design, but also the Swiss national flag. The left and middle photo above show a flamed Swiss national flag, used by playing school children near Wabern and Köniz (Bern canton), ca. 1914 (picture, source / picture, source).
Today this kind of flags are being produced and sold again (see right image above [source]).
Pascal Gross/Martin Karner, 30 June 2002/6 December 2023

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

Artillerie-Verein Baselland

[Flag of Artillery Club BL] image located by Martin Karner

On an auction platform this b/w photo from the 1940s is offered, showing a group of military personnel and the square flag of the Artillery Club Baselland (Artillerie-Verein Baselland). The colours of the upper part must be red and white, corresponding to the cantonal colours. The lower part probably has golden lettering on red. (source)

The purpose of the Artillery Clubs is to increase skill in using the weapons outside of regular military service. The first of those clubs in Switzerland have been founded in the first half of the 19th century. There are cantonal as well as local clubs. The Baselland club was founded in 1888, in the same year the national Association of Swiss Artillery Clubs (Centralverband Schweizerischer Artillerievereine) was founded (later Verband Schweizerischer Artillerievereine). In 1890 the first Artillery Day (Artillerietag) was organized, with shooting competitions and presentation of the weapons for the public. (source)

Association of Swiss Artillery Clubs

[Flag of ASSA] image located by Martin Karner

The flag of the national Asscociation (introduced 1937), French version (Association suisse des Sociétés d'Artillerie). (source)

Martin Karner, 6 December 2023

All cantonal flags on one flag

[All cantons flag] image by António Martins, 20 February 2024

This is a makeshift flag and not an official flag at all, but it sure does portray a colorful design, and it seems that it is used quite often (Photo by E.R. [2011], the same flag also here).
The flag is a red background square featuring 25 (26) Cantons in five rows of five, from top to bottom, from left to right, as follows [in the official order]:

1st row: Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Uri, Schwyz
2nd row: Obwalden, Nidwalden, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg
3rd row: Solothurn, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Schaffhausen, Appenzell (AI+AR)*
4th row: St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino
5th row: Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Genève, Jura
* The half-cantons AI and AR have to share a field with their common flag

Esteban Rivera, 7 January 2024