Flag of Berlin

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Flag of Berlin.svg
Name Landesflagge (state flag)
Use Civil flag and ensign Normal or de jure version of flag, or obverse side
Proportion 3:5
Adopted 1954 (West); 1990 (Whole)
Design A tricolor of red-white-red, defaced with an emblem.
Flag of Berlin (state).svg
Variant flag of Berlin
Name Landesdienstflagge (state service flag)
Use State flag and ensign Normal or de jure version of flag, or obverse side
Proportion 3:5
Adopted 1954 (West); 1990 (Whole)
Standard of senate of Berlin.svg
Variant flag of Berlin
Name Standard of the Berlin Senate
Use State flag Normal or de jure version of flag, or obverse side
Proportion 1:1
Adopted 1990

The flag of Berlin has three stripes of red-white-red, the two outer stripes each occupying a fifth of its height, the middle the remaining three fifths. It is defaced with a bear in the case of the civil flag, and the coat of arms of Berlin on the state flag.

The civil flag of West Berlin was adopted on 26 May 1954. Designed by Ottfried Neubecker, it came in second in the contest of 1952, the winner being rejected by the Senate. The emblem of the bear is apparently a pun on the city's name (bear in German being Bär). The bear is placed slightly to the left. It became the flag of the whole city after the reunification of Germany in 1990.[1]

The state flag replaces the bear with the full coat of arms, with escutcheon. Being the state flag for West Berlin, it similarly became the flag for unified Berlin in 1990. Previously to that, it had also been a naval ensign on the basis that neither German one could be used. It is in the proportion 3:5.[2]

Historical flags[edit]

Between 1618 and 1861 a bicolour of black over white, opposite to that of Siena, was used as both a civil and state flag, under successive Brandenburg then Prussian rule.

Between 1861 and 1912, a horizontal tricolour of black, red and white was used in the proportion 2:3. It was designed by Ernst Fidicin based in the Brandenburg colors following the coronation of Wilhelm I on 19 December 1861.

Between 1913 and 1954, the civil flag was similar to the current one, except the design of the bear was different. Until 1935, the emblem itself was not fixed.

After 1955, the West Berlin flag was that adopted for the whole of Berlin after 1990; East Berlin had the addition of two white stripes taking the outside halves of the upper and lower red stripes, and a slightly different design for the bear inside an escutcheon, topped with a crown.[3] The East Berlin flag was therefore a slightly modified version of the old state flag, with the civil flag being eschewed in East Berlin -- and conversely, adopted as official in West Berlin -- due to the bear in the civil flag being off-center to the left and facing left, which strongly suggested an orientation to the West.

Flag of Berlin, 1618-1861 
Flag of Berlin, 1861-1912 
Flag of Berlin, 1913-1934 (Civil Flag, 1913-1954) 
State Flag of Berlin 1934-1954 
Flag of East Berlin, 1954-1990 
Flag of West Berlin, 1954-1990 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Birgit Laitenberger; Maria Bassier (2000), Wappen und Flaggen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und ihrer Länder: Allgemeine Einführung (Coats-of-arms and flags of the Federal Republic of Germany and her states: General introduction in state symbols) (in German) 
  2. ^ State Chancellery (1954), Gesetz über die Hoheitszeichen des Landes Berlin vom 13. Mai 1954 (Law on the State Symbols of the State of Berlin of 13th May 1954) (in German) 
  3. ^ Klemens Stadler (1966), Deutsche Wappen. Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Die Gemeindewappen von Rheinland-Pfalz und Saarland, Bremen, Hamburg, Westberlin. (German Coats-of-Arms. Federal Republic of Germany: Municipal Coats-of-Arms of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saar, Bremen, Hamburg, West Berlin.) (in German)