Flag of Kosovo
|Proportion||5:7 (1:1.4 in the law)|
|Adopted||17 February 2008|
|Design||Blue, with a map of Kosovo in gold, surmounted by an arc of six white stars, in the centre|
|Designed by||Muhamer Ibrahimi|
The flag of the Republic of Kosovo was adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo immediately following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Kosovo from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The flag is the result of an international design competition, organised by the United Nations-backed Kosovo Unity Team, which attracted almost one thousand entries. The now-used design is a variant of one proposal designed by Muhamer Ibrahimi. It shows six white stars in an arc above a golden map of Kosovo on a blue field. The stars symbolise Kosovo's six major ethnic groups.
Before the declaration of independence, Kosovo was under the administration of the United Nations and used the UN flag for official purposes. Both the Serbian and Albanian ethnic populations used their own flags since the Socialist Yugoslavia period. The Serbs use a red, blue and white tricolor, which forms the basis of the current flag of Serbia. The Albanian population have used the flag of Albania since the 1960s as their nationality flag. Both flags can still be seen and used inside independent Kosovo.
Design and use
The flag of Kosovo has a blue background, charged with a map of Kosovo and six stars. The stars are officially meant to symbolise Kosovo's six major ethnic groups: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Romani (often grouped with the Ashkali and Egyptians) and Bosniaks. Unofficially, the stars are sometimes said to represent the six regions, which according to Albanian ultra nationalist ideology, make up Greater Albania: Albania, Kosovo, western parts of the Republic of Macedonia, parts of northern Greece, parts of Montenegro and Presevo Valley in southern Serbia. The flag of Kosovo resembles that of Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of colors and shapes used (white stars and yellow shape of the country on a blue field). The flag is unusual among national flags in using a map as a design element; the Flag of Cyprus is the only other to do so. The ratio of the flag was announced during the contest as 2:3, however with the passage of a diplomatic protocol law in Kosovo in April 2009, the ratio was set as 1:1.4 (5:7 when put in whole numbers). The colors and construction of the Kosovo flag have not yet been defined; however, an official government document does give the colors of the flag using CMYK. The unofficial RGB values of the flag have been manually extracted since 2009. The use of the Kosovo flag is regulated by the law: "Law on the Use of Kosovo State Symbols". However, the Serbian Government objects to the use of the Kosovo flag at international meetings and gatherings.
Colours and sizes
|Use||Length and width in centimeters|
|When used outdoors (pole is 10 meters tall and in the ground)||not exceeding 350 × 498|
|When used outdoors (pole is 10 meters tall and on a balcony)||200 × 280|
|When used indoors (pole is 2.5 meters tall)||107 × 150 or 150 × 210|
|Table flag||16 × 23|
Use of other flags
Use of the Albanian flag
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
Use of the Serbian flag
Serbia does not recognise the secession of Kosovo and considers it a United Nations-governed entity within its sovereign territory, the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија, Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija), according to the 2006 Constitution of Serbia. Serbia took Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, although the land was not incorporated immediately into Serbia and legally remained occupied until 1918.
Even months after Kosovo's declaration of independence, the Serbian flag was still seen at official government buildings until officially replaced by the Kosovo Government. Serbian flags were used in global protests against Kosovo independence and still can be seen in Serb-majority areas in the north. However, a person was sentenced by a panel of EULEX judges on November 19, 2009, for inciting hatred by raising a Serbian flag on a mosque in the southern part of Mitrovica (among other charges of discord/intolerance and attempted aggravated murder of a police officer).
Until 2008, Kosovo did not have a flag of its own. However, during different periods of history, different flags were flown in Kosovo. Before 1969, the only flags that could legally fly over Kosovo (then an autonomous province) were those of SFR Yugoslavia and SR Serbia. If a nationalist flag were flown, such as Albanian, Serbian or Croatian, a person could go to prison for doing it. In 1969, the Kosovar Albanian population was able to use the Albanian flag as its national flag. However, the flag had to be charged with a red star, since this was a common symbol of the Yugoslav nation. Even without this requirement, the flag of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania at the time had a red star, outlined in gold, above the double headed eagle. Later on, different nationalities in Kosovo could use their own national flags in accordance with legislation. Before the death of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito and the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia, there were calls for the Albanian flag to be banned because the residents of Kosovo and Metohija did not want to live under a foreign flag. This sentiment culminated in the Petition of the 2016, which called for, among other items, a greater statehood status for Serbia and the removal of all Albanian symbols. The Serbian side also began to remove the red star from the Yugoslav flag, using it for protests to counterbalance the Albanian population and to promote a "Greater Serbia".
When Kosovo was under the administration of the United Nations, the UN flag was flown in Kosovo. However, the flag used by the Kosovar Albanian population was the Albanian flag. The Albanian flag was also used on public buildings, even though it was against UN regulations. Regulations stated only the UN flag and other authorised flags, like those of cities, could fly on public buildings. If the Albanian flag did have to go up, then the Serbian flag must go up too, according to UN regulations. However, this was never done in practice and the Albanian flag was ever-present in UNMIK Kosovo.
Competition for a new flag
A competition for a new flag, held in June 2007, received 993 entries. Under the terms of UN talks, all such symbols would have to reflect the multi-ethnic nature of Kosovo, avoiding the use of the Albanian or Serbian double-headed eagles or the use of solely red and black or red, blue and white color schemes. Red and black are the colours used on the Albanian flag; red, blue and white are the main colours used on the Serbian flag. Additionally, all entries had to be rectangular and have a 2:3 proportion. The Kosovo Symbols Commission eventually selected three designs, which were then voted on by the Assembly of Kosovo (with a two-thirds majority required for approval), when independence was declared after the status talks. The three proposals selected were forwarded to the Assembly on 4 February 2008.
The proposals and final choice
- Blue field with a white map of Kosovo surrounded by five stars. The stars vary in size and represent the different ethnic groups that reside in Kosovo. The largest star would represent ethnic Albanians.
- A vertical tricolour of black, white and red.
- A vertical tricolour of black, white and red with a spiral (Dardanian symbol of the rotating sun) in the centre of the white stripe.
The assembly voted on 17 February 2008 to use a variant of the first proposal. The modified version has an additional star, makes the stars equal in size, switches the colours of the stars and map, makes the map bigger, and arranges the stars in a curve above the map.
Ibrahim Rugova, the first president of Kosovo, introduced the "flag of Dardania" on October 29, 2000. The flag was blue, inscribed with a red disc with a golden ring. Inside the red disc is the Albanian eagle. The eagle is holding a ribbon with the legend "Dardania" inscribed. Dardania is the name of an ancient region in the same general area as Kosovo, but is not officially recognised by any international power. This flag did not gain much popularity, but was occasionally used at cultural and sports events during the UNMIK period and was also used at Rugova's funeral to cover his coffin. It is still used as an unofficial presidential standard and by the two Rugovan political parties, the Democratic League of Kosovo and the Democratic League of Dardania.
- Coat of arms of Kosovo
- Flag of Albania
- Flag of Serbia
- List of flags of Kosovo
- National anthem of Kosovo
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