Arsène Heitz

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Arsène Heitz (27 March 1908 – 1989) was a German-French draughtsman, born in Strasbourg, who worked at the Council of Europe. He is the co-author of the Flag of Europe (in collaboration with Paul M. G. Lévy).

Heitz worked in the postal service of the Council of Europe while the flag was being chosen between 1950 and 1955, and he submitted 21 of the 101 designs that are conserved in the Council of Europe Archives.[1][2]

He proposed among other drawings a circle of fifteen yellow stars upon a blue background;[3] inspired by the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary,[4] the Queen of Heaven of the Book of Revelation, often portrayed in Roman Catholic art, which can be seen in the Rose Window that the Council of Europe donated to Strasbourg Cathedral in 1953.[5] Indeed, he proposed a design with “a crown of 12 golden stars with 5 rays, their points not touching.”

His flag with twelve stars was eventually adopted by the Council, and the design was finalised by Paul M. G. Lévy.[6]

Arsène Heitz, who mainly designed the European flag in 1955, had told Lourdes magazine that his inspiration had been the reference in the Book of Revelation, the New Testament's final section, to "a woman clothed with the sun...and a crown of twelve stars on her head" (Revelation 12:1).[7]

He was a devout Catholic who belonged to the Order of the Miraculous Medal, which may have influenced his views on the symbolism of the 12 stars.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Proposals for European flags from Arsène Heitz (1952–1955)". CVCE. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  2. ^ "Lettre d'Arsène Heitz à Filippo Caracciolo (Strasbourg, 5 janvier 1952)". CVCE. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  3. ^ "The European flag: questions and answers". CVCE. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ "Maria Europea : histoire du drapeau européen" (in French). L'Etre persienne. 20 September 2008. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  5. ^ "The European Commission and religious values". The Economist. 2004-10-28. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
  6. ^ "Recommendation 56(1) of the Consultative Assembly on the choice of an emblem for the Council of Europe (25 September 1953)". CVCE. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
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