Last modified: 2011-03-11 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: hungary | budapest | buda | pest | lion | castle | danube |
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image by István Molnár, 9 April 2001
image by Antonio Martins, 25 October 2000
Use of flag is abandoned on 24 February 2011 by Mayor of City of Budapest
Horizontally divided red-yellow-blue with the city's coat of
arms in the center. The blue shade is very bright and strong
(like Sweden's) and the flag appears to be 3:2. The coat of arms
has the same crest as on the national and the shield is red, a
wave silver horizontally dividing two castles, representing Buda
and Pest -- the castles are not regular heraldic ones, but a
(styled) representation of actual monuments. Two golden lions
rampant support the shield. Budapest is combined from two major
parts: Buda - on the western bank of the Danube, and Pest - on
the eastern bank of the Danube. Both parts were united in 1872 to
Antonio Martins , 9 May 1997
There were several reports that the blue stipe was replaced by
green one. It seems that this is not so.
eljko Heimer , 10 May 1997
The flag of the city of Budapest, Hungary, is shown here as
being a horizontal tricolor of red-yellow-blue. However, in the
Crampton book "The Complete Guide to Flags," the flag
of Budapest is described as "3 horizontal stripes of red,
yellow, and green with the city arms in the center" on page
64. Did the flag design change between the book's printing (1989)
and the observations (1997)?
Randy Young, 29 January 1999
IIRC, some groups (if they were organized groups at all?)
wnated Budapest flag to change from blue to green, due to the
similarity, as they put it, with the flag of Romania and
possibility of misinterpretation due to that. To my understanding
the issue was rather irrational and nationalisticly coloured, and
I guess that the officials did not take it seriously. In any
case, flags with blue are still used, as I can testify, as well
as some others that visited Budapest recently. As far as I know
green version was never used. The issue was raised in early 90's.
Red yellow and blue are colours taken from the Budapest CoA, which is red with blue wavy bar and two castles one on each side (a bit different, one to represent Buda and other Pest, the two cities that Budapest is formed of, with Danube in the middle). Since blue wavy line represent river Danube, it is hard to interpret it as green.
However, I would not claim that "before my time" there was not a different flag for Budapest, as I lack full information.
eljko Heimer, 31 January 1999
Budapest came into existence in Fall 1873 out of three former
cities: ?buda (lit. "Old Buda"), Buda, and Pest. The
new flag for the new capital was designed based on the Hungarian
red-white-green tricolor: white became yellow and green became
blue. The red-yellow-blue tricolor with the city CoA remained the
flag of Budapest until the end of WW I (probably until 1920),
when it was officially changed to red-yellow-green with CoA.
Namely, in Fall/Winter 1919, after the collapse of the Soviet
Republic, along with the annexion of Transsylvania, the Partium,
the Banat, and Eastern Hungary, Romanian troops occupied
Budapest. Their blue-yellow-red tricolor became extremely
unwelcome in the capital. For this reason, Governor Horthy
(actually, he was elected in March 1920) ordered the above
mentioned change of the blue color. After WW II, almost all
county and city flags were abolished (an exception is Szeged,
which used its city flag--Communist version--in the 1980s). After
liberation, in or around 1990, the new city council decided to
re-establish the original, 1873 flag. From that time on, the
state flag or the national flag is (almost) always hoisted along
with the Budapest flag.
David N. Biacsi, 4 Febuary 1999
The flag was adopted in 30th September 1990 by the Soviet of
the Capital (before the elections of the councils).The correct
flag (that I know) is the 1:2 version.
István Molnár, 12 October 2000 and 9 April 2001
The change of the colours (blue/green) was in 1930! The
red-yellow-blue flag was used 1873-1930.
The red-yellow-green flag was used 1930-1946/1950. The present flag is the red-yellow-blue from 1989.
István Molnár, 19 October 2000
The new mayor of Budapest has abandoned the usage of flag and coat of arms of
Buadpest - reported yesterday, 24 February 2010. He said - "I do not like the
former flag of the capital, we will change it." In fact all Budapest flags were
removed from the Assembly Hall, and they were replaced with national flags. A
similar situation has occured with Budapest coat of arms, it was replaced by
Hungarian coat of arms in the Hall. "Symbols of Budapest emphasized the
independence of the capital." A representative of Budapest said "It is not a
political issue, there is a personal sense of taste. The current leadership do
not like the red-yellow-blue flag." An other official said: "There is no any
plan to design a new flag and symbols for Budapest."
My note: The problem is the similarity with the Romanian flag, both flags have the same colours, but in different design. There is a long debate in midst of Hungarian politicians in this issue.
This is the original article published yesterday (in Hungarian):
I have not found any English article yet, but I think English-news bodies needs some time to translate and publish it.
There is official page for Budapest (in English):
and a Hungarian but English-language online newspaper:
Within some days, we can read this news in English as well.
I do not want to state any political issue, but I can tell you that Hungarian mid-right parties always have problem with this flag because of similarity with Romanian colours. It is a national issue, a kind of sensitiveness, and indeed you are right, it goes back to time between the two World Wars in the last century.
Hungarian politicians (specially from the conservative and right side) always suffering from memories of Trianon Treaty in 1920 when Hungary lost most of its former territories. Romania is a sentitive issue, because a lot of people with Hungarian nationality live in current Romania, but they lived within the Hungarian borders before the First World War. The latest idea from this new government to give citizenship and a suffrage for all Hungarian nationals outside the Hungary. Neighbouring government have not been happy with this.
Going back to this issue, some political leaders do not want to any similarity with neighbouring countries symbols. They recognize only Hungarian or Hungarian-like symbols.
Zoltan Horvath, 25 February 2011
The Hungarian political sensitivities were very well summarized by Zoltan.
I'd add the fact that the Romanian Army occupied Budapest in August 1919 as part
of its anti - Soviet Hungary campaign. While the people were treated fair, their
national pride was hurt.
As for the flag, it seems to follow the vexillological rule of having the main tinctures of the coat of arms:
Running the text of the article trough Google Translate, I was able to understand most of it. The text says, among others, that the flag originated in the 2 flags of Buda and Pest districts: red-gold and blue-gold, respectively. In 1873 the two cities united, together with a third one, Óbuda, forming the modern Budapest. At the same time, the coat of arms and the flags were "united" too. Thus, even if the tricolor flag originated in the bicolor ones of Buda and Pest, those two were themselves most likely derived from the main tinctures of their respective coat of arms.
Alex Danes, 25 February 2011
image by Antonio Martins, 28 Febuary 2001
The flag without the arms is also in use.
eljko Heimer , 10 May 1997
The official version is the 2:3
István Molnár, 27 May 2001
image by István Molnár, 9 April 2001
image by István Molnár, 27 August 2001
Flying flag at the Conquest Statue, Opusztaszer NHP. Ratio:
3:1. The width of the CoA is the 1/3 of the width of the flag.
The CoAs is on the 1/3 of the flag's height.
István Molnár, 27 August 2001
image by Johnny Andersson, 23 April 2007
I came across this variant
of the flag at <www.omniplan.hu>.
Colours in my image are approximate. Size of the arms is almost
the height of the yellow stripe.
Johnny Andersson, 23 April 2007
image from <www.budapest.hu>, located by István Molnár, 12 October 2000
The CoA and the flag were adopted in 30th September 1990 by
the Soviet of the Capital (before the elections of the councils).
István Molnár, 12 October 2000
The St. Stephen (Szent Istvan) basilica construction started
in 1848, stopped immediatly, was resumed in 1851 after the War of
Independence, followed by the immediate death of the two
architects, and even the dome collapsed during the works. The
church was finally consecrated in 1905, and in 1931 it was
awarded the title 'basilica minor' by the Holy See. The right
hand of Stephen I, the first Hungarian king, the 'Holy Right', is
preserved here in a shrine exposed in a side chapel close to the
Three flags are displayed in the chapel:
- the Hungarian national flag with coat of arms and golden fringe, inproportion 1:2
- a vertical banner of proportion 2:1, vertically divided red and green, with a white Hungarian cross with curved edges. Flag has a golden fringe on the lower edge. Looks like a typical procession banner.
- a rectangular banner of proportion 1:2, horizontally divided yellow and blue, charged in the middle with Coat of Arms. I am not so sure of the charge, since it was rather dark.
The Holy Right is paraded by the faithful each 20st August,
and I guess the three flags are involved in the ceremony.
Historical informations are from the Budapest guide, released by the Tourism Office of Budapest.
Ivan Sache, 14 October 2000
The "Hungarian cross flag" is the flag of the Saint Stephen Order of Knighthood (in
Hungarian: Szent István Lovagrend). The yellow-blue flag is the
flag of Budapest V. district -
István Molnár, 16 October 2000
Flags of Budapest
Szabadkiköto - Budapest Free Port at <www.mahart.hu>.
István Molnár, 6 September 2005