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Hungary

Magyarország, Magyar Köztársaság, Republic of Hungary

Last modified: 2008-08-02 by dov gutterman
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[Hungarian flag]
image by István Molnár, 25 June 2001


Official Name: Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság)
Capital: Budapest
Location: Central Europe
Government Type: Republic
Flag adopted: 1957 (First used 1848)
Coat of Arms adopted: 1990 (First used XII-XIII C.)
ISO Code: HU



See also:

Other sites:


The Flag

From the DK book: "The current flag was first used in the 1848-49 uprising.  Its pattern was derived from the French Tricolore used during the French Revolution.  The colors: red, white and green, date back to the 9th century.  They were first used in 1608 during the reign of King Matthias II.  Until 1945, the royal crown appeared in the center of the national flag."

Red - symbolizes strength
White - faithfulness
Green - hope
Phil Nelson, 21 November 1999

From page 623 of the Magyarorsza'g to:rte'neti kronolo'gia'ja II. 1526-1848. Akade'miai Kiado' Budapest 1982 (Chronology of the Hungarian History 2nd part 1526-1848) :
"1806. During the year: The official colours of the flag of the Empire of Austria are the black and yellow, the official colours of the flag of the Kingdom of Hungary are the red, white and green."
István Molnár, 23 July 2000

This flag represented the Hungarian state within the Empire, at least after the revolutionary 1848. It was this flag that was so hated in Zagreb in late 19th century and not the Austrian one. In any case, the lexicons of late 19th century (like Mayers) list this flag.
}eljko Heimer, 11 November 2000

I have seen a film on the m1 TV an hour ago about the Hungarian historical flags. Some informations:
The tricolour was used first in 1801 by Joseph, Palatine of Hungary
The tricolour is used from 1830s. The ratio 2:1 Maybe this is the official version?!
The national flag has to be used on the official buildings - for example: schools, city halls, hospitals, police Stations - from 20 August 2000.
Istvan Molnar, 28 November 2000

The official flag is the tricolour without coat of arms. The ratio of the official flag is 1:2. The tricolour in 2:1, 3:2 and 2:3 is used also. The tricolour with coat of arms can be used too. This flag was in use in 1848 - 1849, 1867 - 1919, 1919 - 1949 and 1956 - now.
In 1849-1867, Hungary was under Austrian occupation and the country was divided.
In 21 March1919 - 31 July 1919, the Hungarian Soviet Republic used the red flag.
In 1949-1956, on the flag there was the Rákosi coat of arms.
István Molnár, 25 June 2001

Istvan Molnar reported the Government decree about the national flag of Hungary. It should have 1:2 ratio. Does it mean that Hungary has changed its flag in 2000?
All previous reports spoke about 2:3 ratio.
Jan Zrzavy, 13 Auguat 2001

No! All previous reports and datas were WRONG!
The official Hungarian flag is the red-white-green tricolour without coat of arms - ratio 1:2 - from 1848! (means: 1848-1849, 1867-1919, 1919-1949, 1957-now!). You can see many variations of ratios 2:3, 3:5, 1:3, 3:2 etc....
See below the Legislation about the national flag.
Istvan Molnar, 13 Auguat 2001

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CS-/CS- 2:3) - RWV flag. If I am not much mistaken, the proper ratio for the national flag is 1:2, at least on land. At sea 2:3 is used.
}eljko Heimer, 2 November 2001


National Colors Fringes


image by Antonio Martins , 19 May 1997

Along with the normal state flag (civil but with coat of arms), I saw in various public buildings a 2:1 red-white-green flag with no charges and a distinct fringe of those colors. Any info?
Antonio Martins, 9 May 1997

Fringed flags are quite often in Hungary, as I have noticed - either with coat of arms or without it, even the flags hoisted outside. But, maybe, there is some significanse, since two flags were hoisted?
}eljko Heimer, 10 May 1997

Off the top of my head, I'd say it's a variation on the civil flag.  My scouts' regiment regimental flags all are 'national fringed'.
Georges Kovari III, 19 June 1999


"State Flag"

[Hungarian flag after 1989]
image by }eljko Heimer, 3 November 2001


image by }eljko Heimer, 3 November 2001

According to the Hungarian Constitution, the flag of Hungary is a red-white-green tricolor. However, the tricolor with the coat of arms in it is more or less used as the de facto national flag. Namely, on national holidays,about 30-70% of the hoisted national flags are bearing a coat of arms. These coat of arms-decorated flags can be found both on state or government buildings and on private houses. The choice between coat of arms and none-coat of arms flags IMHO depends chiefly on the political views of the one who hoists it: between 1990-1994, when a conservative government was in power, almost all flags hoisted were with coat of arms. Between 1994-1998 , the ratio of flags with coat of arms decreased form 80% to 30%. The 1994-1998 Government used almost exclusively the tricolor without the coat of arms. Since 1998 (neoconservative-bourgeoise-right-wing Coalition), government uses the tricolor with coat of arms again (along with the EU flag). Private "flag hoisters" tend to follow the trend, but very loosely. An exception: on the Parliament building, there has been hoisted the none-coat of arms version only.
On the other hand, in souvenir stores only coat of arms flags are sold. On none-holiday occasions (e.g., supermarkets hoisting their logo flag, the national flag, etc.), both coat of arms and none-coat of arms flags are hoisted, 60% vs. 40%. The coat of arms flag is, IMHO, not a state flag, since its use is nationwide, ranging from the government to every storekeepers fifth cousin. I would call "it de facto national flag", from the above reasons.
David N. Biacsi, 4 Februar 1999

The coat of arms flag is widespreadly used without official sanction, both by government and civilians, and can be considered as "de facto" flag variation. I guess that it is indicative that the flags used in very official occasions (as is the example of the Parliamen building), only the simple tricolour is used. It is to be noted that as often as not, the coat of arms on the flag is only on obverse, reverse being simple tricolour!
}eljko Heimer, 18 October 1999

At on the village hall of Bakonyszucs/Sitsch, I saw an Hungarian flag (1:2) with the coat of arms on the hoist side about in third of its length.
Istvan Molnar, 2 July 2001

The flag with coat of arms is optional variation of the national flag, and not at all the state flag. According to the law the coat of arms "could be" set in the tricolour, but it is not prescribed how - place is not mentioned, nor orientation (rotation) nor size, and in practice many variations may be observed, all equally acceptable.
}eljko Heimer, 13 July 2001

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - Alternative National Flag (CS-/CS- 2:3) - Armand chose to show the version with coat of arms in the middle, while I prefer the one off-set to hoist. Both are correct, as well as a
number of other variations...
}eljko Heimer, 2 November 2001

The law alowes possibility that the coat of arms is set in the flag, but it does not specify where, how oriented and how big - therefore I don't think it says anything about "only on white".
}eljko Heimer, 17 November 2001

The plain tricolor IS our state flag yet. Back to 2001 our semi-right wing party was ?n government, and they 'unofficially' re-adopted the version with the Kossuth Coat of Arms in it, with the Hungarian holy crown on top of it. The new flag, with the Kossuth Coat of Arms in the middle, was only 'unofficially adopted'. Theres NO rules for that. Now we have a semi left winged government, so the countrywide use of the Kossuth Coat of Arms' tricolor is reduced a bit.
Palkó Dániel, 20 March 2006

Flag with Coat of Arms on the White Stripe


image by István Molnár and }eljko Heimer, 6 November 2001


image by István Molnár and }eljko Heimer, 6 November 2001

An Hungarian flag with the coat of arms only on the white stripe in a photo taken in the Pentecostal Festival in Csíksomlyó (part of Miercurea-Ciuc/Csíkszereda city) in 2001. On the Home Page of Miercurea-Ciuc/Csíkszereda: <clmc.topnet.ro>.
István Molnár, 19 September 2001

Flag with Coat of Arms and Wreath


photo by Rodney Boyd, 23 August 2005

The premises of a car dealership next door to my office in Toronto, Canada, are regularly festooned with different decorations.  This month it's flags of various countries.  One of them is the Hungarian "state" flag. It has the coat of arms in the center, but this is surrounded by two branches, much like the two olive branches on the UN flag.  The left- and right-hand branches are different - one has what look to me like acorns on it, and the other has something else. I have no idea to what extent this flag may or may not be used in Hungary itself, but it had to come from somewhere, so someone will probably want to check it out.
Mark Brader, 23 August 2005

Both oak leaves and olive leaves are associated with Hungarian historical flags - our site shows some examples at Hungary - Historical Flags (1848) and Hungary - Historical Military Flags (1848). The second of these shows leaves very much like on the flag depicted, with oak leaves on one side and olive leaves on the other, although confusingly the text underneath refers only to the olive leaves. Never heard of the wreaths used on a national flag before though!
James Dignan, 25 August 2005

I believe this is a "state" flag, but perhaps more of a de facto than a de jure variant. I have one of these flags in my collection, among a number of other Hungarian flags, and I believe it is a "state" flag.   While those above may be the official government ones, the Catholic communities and Protestant communities use two different variants.  The Catholics have the coat of arms supported by two angels (as in Regent's Standard, but with the small shield, on a tricolour background, etc.). The Protestant variant has the coat of arms wreathed by a branch of oak (hence the acorns), and bay (AKA laurel). That's it from this side of the Atlantic.
Georges G. Kovari III, 25 August 2005

According to the Album des Pavillons there is one Hungarian flag with awreath on it (consisting of two different branches) - the naval ensign.
Christopher Southworth, 27 August 2005

Here is a photo taken yesterday in Mohács, Baranya county showing Hungarian Coat of Arms with Angels in use.
Istvan Molnar, 4 September 2005

Flag at Border Crossings


photo by Paul Lorton, 20 September 2004

The flag with the coat of arms was also used on Hungary's border crossings before the country joined the European Union in May of this year. The sign used to read "Magyar" in the red, and "Köztársaság" in the green, with the coat of arms in the white. I believe this was used on all of the borders.  The photograph above is on the Hungary-Slovakia border between Esztergom, Hungary and Stúrovo (Párkány), Slovakia. Now, since Hungary is part of the EU, the sign has been changed to a blue background with the 12 EU stars and the words "Magyar Köztársaság" Republic of Hungary) in the center.
Paul Lorton, 20 September 2004

Note that this "flag" is only a table (made of aluminium, or steel).
István Molnár, 17 October 2004


Flags in Use

2:1 Flag


image by István Molnár, 8 May 2001

Yesterday I have seen this short Hungarian flag in Sárvár. It is a flying flag, not hanging one!
István Molnár, 8 May 2001

2:3 Flag


image by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999

"Historical" Flag


image by Istvan Molnar, 15 August 2001

Today was the Millennium ceremony in Esztergom and I have seen this flag flying on the walls beside the Millennium Statue.
István Molnár, 15 August 2001

This flag is flying below the Millennium Statue of the county. Maybe it will be a new tradition. Historical form with the tricolour.
István Molnár, 26 August 2001

Flag with Darker Shades of Colors


image by Mladen Mijatov and Tomislav Todorovic, 27 November 2007

The national flag of Hungary with dark shades of red and green colours was shown on the photo from a presentation of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party, which was published in Serbian magazine "Evropa" (ISSN 1820-0761), issue #45 of 2005-02-17, p. 28; at the right-hand side of the photo, several such flags were hung on the wall. At the party web site, such flags might have been seen on different photos. The same is also true for numerous photos at the site of Sixty-four Counties Youth Movement. It seems that such flags are often used by extreme right-wing organizations, although the reason for use of such dark shades of colours is not widely known yet.
Tomislav Todorovic, 27 November 2007


Flag for Use at Sea


image by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999

According to Res. No. 51/1957 (VIII.18.)/ at <www.kff.hu>, the Hungarian flag for use at sea is red-white-green. Ratio 2:3
István Molnár, 4 April 2001

On the page of the Shipping Authority there was only one law concerning flags: It is a statute regulation as old as from 18th August 1957, but it still seems to be valid.
In 1§ it prescribes that Hungarian sea-going (!) merchant vessels shall (1) hoist the r-w-g tricolour in (2) ratio 2:3 and that they (3) may not use "mast ribbons" (whatever is meant by that).
2§ states that by this decree the old one from 1950 loses its validity.
Marco Pribilla, 1 November 2001

I guess that (3) refers to what we call "masthead pennant" or "war pennant". It seems logical that merchant vessels are prohibitied these since they as a rule declare a vessel to be a warship (c.f. the other name "commission pennant").
}eljko Heimer, 2 November 2001

Hungary had got mercantile fleet after treaty of Trianon and had got a "River Navy".
More information at <www.mahart.hu>, <www.papernet.hu>, <www.mateinfo.hu>. List of Hungarian ships and shipping line at <www.papernet.hu>.
István Molnár,


Legislation

Law LXXXIII of 1995 about the use of the national symbols of the Hungarian Republic and the use of names that make reference to the Hungarian Republic

11. § (1) For the purpose of declaring the pertainance to the nation, private persons can use the arms and the flag, keeping the limitations contained in this law.
(2) The use of the arms and the flag is permitted - keeping the limitations contained in this law  in case of: national holidays, programs in relation with national holidays and other kind of programs (political, economical, scientific, etc.), commemorations of national character, and also casual use for giving military honors.
(3) In cases specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), the arms and the flag can be used also in their historical forms.
(4) The use of the arms on the flag is permitted in all cases - and with the same conditions -, when the use of the arms is permitted by the law.
Ivan Marinov, 11 January 2001

Constitution of Hungary - paragraph 76 (at <www.parlament.hu>): The flag of Hungary is red-white-green.
Law LXXXIII. /1995/ about the symbols of Hungary at <www.complex.hu/T9500083.HTM>
Law XXXVIII. /2000/ at <www.complex.hu/kzldat/T0000038.HTM>.
Istvan Molnar, 23 March 2001

No. 132/2000. (VII.14.) order of the Government about the national flag (at <www.konfoderaciok.hu>): Ratio of the flag: 1:2 . On the Appendix you can find measures of flags and flag-poles sizes (on the end of the page).
István Molnár, 23 March 2001

The first law about the flag was the Law XXI in 1848. It said:
"1. The national colour and the Coat of Arms of the country restituted to traditional law" [No data of ratio. The official used flag was the 1:2 flag. The laws later renewed it!]
In the Constitution (XXth Law in 1949 modified by the XL Law in 1990) at <www.mkogy.hu>:
"76. § The flag of the Republic of Hungary contains three equal horizontal red,white and green stripes. [No data of ratio. It was traditionally 1:2]
Law LXXXIII (1995) about the using of the national symbols says nothing about the ratio too.
Resolution No. 132/2000 (VII. 14.) of the Government is defined the dimension of the flag - NOT modified, only determined.
The official dimensions are:
1. 100x200 cm 2,5 m (flagstaff)
2. 150x300 cm 3,5 m
3. 200x400 cm 4 m
You can find the Resolution No. 51/1957 (VIII. 18) of the Government from 1957 which defined the flag using on the sea (its ratio was 2:3!) at <www.kff.hu>.
Istvan Molnar, 13 Auguat 2001

I managed to find a Hungarian government decree (132/2000, issued 14.7.2000) complementary to the 2000 flag law. In the appendix the exact sizes of the flags to be used at government buildings are prescribed according to mast length and the flags are indeed all in ratio 1:2. (The decree even states that the flag is to be cleaned at least every three months and replaced by a new one once a year!)
On the other hand, there is the decree of 1957 <www.kff.hu> which prescribes the 2:3 tricolour for merchant vessels. The constitution and the flag laws of 1995 and 2000 say nothing about the ratio.
So according to this information it seems that BOTH 1:2 and 2:3 are official, but for different use. The 2:3 tricolour is the merchant ensign, and 1:2 is some kind of state flag on land. For the ratio of private flags used on land, however, I have not found any prescriptions, so I guess anything goes...
Marco Pribilla, 18 November 2001


Presidential flag

coat of arms in a 1:1 white backgound with green red alternated triangle border. It appears in Smith78.
Antonio Martins, 7 May 1997

These are supposed to be wolf-teeth.
Nahum Shereshevsky
, 11 May 1997


Black Flags as Sign of Mourning

It was very interesting for me to see that in Hugary, flags on half mast as a symbol of mourn are NOT USED AT ALL. Last Sunday was officially declared as a national mourning day due to a bus accident in Styria, Austria. All buildings hoisted black flags, and there was none national flag, full mast or half mast, at all. What kind of tradition (or lack of it) may it be that, instead of half mast national flags, solely black flags are hoisted as a sign of mourning
David N. Biacsi, 4 Februar 1999

I read in one of my books (either Sisa's Spirit of Hungary or Marek's The Eagles Die) that when Empress Elizabeth was assassinated in Lucerne on Sept. 9 1898, black flags were flown all over Budapest. As to whether they were also flown throughout Hungary, I don't know, but I wouldn't doubt it.
Georges Kovari III, 4 Februar 1999

I am speculating here, but if the tradition (or lack of it, as you put it) is anything similar to Croatia, and I believe it is then an explanation similar to this could be given. Most of the flags that are hoisted on private houses and blocks are of a kind where the staff is obliquly attached to the house, and the flag is attached to the sfatt either by the way of a sleve or nails. Any of the two would make it totally unpractical to put the flag on half-staff - it would require either resewing or getting the nails out. In any case, as these staff would be of, say, 2 meters long, a half-masted 1 meter wide flag would not look very well on it anyway. It is therefore, that the solution of blackflag is used.This is how I explain this around here, and maybe it would be similar in Hungary.
}eljko Heimer, 5 Febuary 1999

the colour of mourning has always been black in Hungary. It is a tradition that has been in existence for centuries. They say its roots have not been traced yet. So on the occasion of the death of Queen Elizabeth in the last century it was flown because it had been flown on such occasions ever since people could remember not because it suddenly came to somebody's mind.
Albert Lugosi, 7 June 2000

When I was in Budapest last year, a black flag was hoisted on the building of the Academy of Sciences after the death of a famous scientist.
Ivan Sache, 15 September 2001

In Budapest, it is customary to fly black flags upon the death of an important person. Last year, when a parliamentarian had died in his nineties, the Parliament building - probably the most attractive in the world - flew black flags alongside the Hungarian national flag, on smallish flag poles at an oblique angle from the building. This manner of flagpole is also customary in Hungary on public buildings, in addition to a vertical flagpole.
Colin Dobson, 23 June 2004


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