Last modified: 2014-03-24 by klaus-michael schneider
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My drawings of flags of Bavarian counties are based on data provided mainly by Falko Schmidt who got the information from the Bavarian State Archives and from enquiries to the counties, but also by Erich Dieter Linder, Dirk Schönberger and Marcus Schmöger. Erich Dieter Linder and Falko Schmidt wrote Linder and Schmidt 2000 [available online at the DGF website] -- , an article about Bavarian county flags in
Der Flaggenkurier no. 12, and Dieter Linder gave a presentation about them at the 8th Meeting of German Vexillologists at Bremen - a PowerPoint file containing his presentation is available online.
Prior to the municipal reorganisation in the early seventies, Bavaria had 143 counties and 51 independent (county-free) cities. Of these counties, all but three (Illertissen, Laufen, Rothenburg) had arms, and 75 had flags. The reform reduced their number to 71 counties and 25 cities. The counties and cities are grouped into seven Bezirke or districts. Of the new counties, all have arms and all but one (Lindau) use flags, six of them unofficially. Some of the flags of these new counties are identical to the flags of pre-reform counties.
Counties are generally named after their main city, with some exceptions. Some are named after two cities - e.g. Freyung-Grafenau - and a few are named after rivers or landscape elements. Therefore, unless otherwise mentioned, the name of the capital is identical to the name of the county.
The coat of of arms in my flag images are all taken from Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website which in turn come from Stadler 1964-1972 and Linder and Olzog 1996.
Stefan Schwoon, 9 Jul and 19 Sep 2001
Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the others are the Landkreise (counties) and the Gemeinden (municipalities) or Städte (towns and cities). In the larger Länder of Germany (including Bavaria) there are Regierungsbezirke which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria.
The Bezirke in Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke (e.g. Regierung von Oberbayern), but are a different form of administration (having their own parliaments etc.). The Bezirke have their own arms and flags (just as the Landkreise and Gemeinden). The Regierungsbezirke as offices under the [Bavarian] -- Ministry of the Interior use the Bavarian arms and flags.
The arms and flags of the Bezirke of Bavaria have been thoroughly described in Linder 1997 which is available online [but without images] -- at the Der Flaggenkurier website. My GIFs and my explanations are based on this article.
M. Schmöger, 27 Jan 2001
The flags of the Bavarian Bezirke are based on Linder 1997. He shows six of them as 'normal' horizontal flags, only the one of Oberbayern as a vertical flag. (...) Regarding the other Bezirke [apart from Oberbayern] -- , I don't know [whether they use vertical or horizontal flags or both] -- . I asked Dieter Linder and he told me, that he reconstructed the flags according to the descriptions (usually nothing more than "divided red-white, bearing the arms" or the like). He does not have photos of these flags, as
they are rarely seen. They only show up occasionally on the buildings of the Bezirk (e.g. on the occasion of an election of a new district president); they are also used, when the Bezirke gather once in a year.
There are not many examples of these flags available, so that they have to bring their own flag for this assembly. Dieter Linder tried for several years to get photos of this assembly showing the flags, without success up to now. The Bezirke themselves were not able or willing to provide photos of their flags. I personally assume that most or even all of the Bezirke use vertical flags with the arms slightly shifted to the top of the flag. This is the normal form of city or municipal flag here in Bavaria. Most official authorities (e.g. the Bavarian ministries) use vertical flags (German and Bavarian) as their official flag on the building. So one could call that 'regular' here in Bavaria.
M. Schmöger, 2 Feb 2001
As of 1st January 1994 Bavaria comprised 2,056 municipalities. Nearly all of them show arms of their own, and I estimate freely that no more than 20 municipalities are without arms. The number of municipal flags is certainly not so high, since they often have been adopted later, but presumably more than 50% of the municipalities are using flags of their own. Unfortunately until now there is no comprehensive publication of all of the incumbent municipal arms or flags of Bavaria. There are only books in regard to certain
But one can say, that nearly all municipal flags show two or three stripes, always of equal width, and the municipal Arms may appear on them. The colours of the stripes always must derive from the main colours of the Arms [livery colours] -- . The heraldic rules are transferred to the flags, i.e. the rule of no metal beside a colour. The only accepted colours are white, yellow, red, green, blue and black. Some examples:
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