Last modified: 2011-06-10 by zoltán horváth
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Official Name: Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság)
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
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
Currently, the Constitution of Hungary does not state anything about the width:length ratio of the flag. It states only that three stripes have equal width. I suppose that the new constitution will follow this tradition. However, there is a law from 1957 (about navigation on sea and inland waters), which appears to be valid. It states that sea-going merchant vessels shall hoist the red-white-green tricolour in 2:3 ratio. Before 2000, it was the reference for all flags and ensigns. A new law has been adopted in 1995 (modified in 2000) about usage of flags and ensigns, but the ratio has not been mentioned by them. Because ratio is neither defined in the Constitution, nor the 1995 or 2000 law, the government decree no. 132/2000 regulates sizes of flag and even flagpoles, the ratio of flags used on government building is 1:2.
Flag size Flagpole
100x200 cm 2,5 m
150x300 cm 3,5 m
200x400 cm 4 m
100x200 cm 6 m
150x300 cm 9 m
200x400 cm 12 m
Summarized this would mean:
Civil flag: A red-white-green tricolour. Actually many variations might be used though according to 1995/LXXXIII §11 (3) " In cases specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), the arms and the flag can be used also in their historical forms.", as (1) reads as: 1995/LXXXIII §11 (1) "(1) For the purpose of declaring the pertainance to the nation, private citizens can use the flag, keeping the limitations contained in this law." It means that both ratio 2:3 and 1:2 are allowed.
National and state flag: red-white-green tricolour, ratio 1:2 (by decree No. 132/2000). According to 1995/LXXXIII 11§. (4), the official coat of arms of Hungary might be placed onto it as a badge. But coat of arms might be used only by authorized persons and offices, defined the same law.
War flag: White background with green red alternated flammulette ("flame tongues", triangles with wavy edge) border, coat of arms in the center, embraced by oak-branches from the left, olive branches from the right. Ratio is defined by decree of Minister of Defense No. 3/1996: Its size shall be 120 cm x 140 cm.
Civil ensign: 2:3 (ratio defined by 1957 navigation law) red-white-green tricolour (there is a merchant fleet).
State ensign: Unspecified. Hungary is landlocked, there is no state vessel. Police vessels use the civil ensign.
War ensign: White background with green-red alternated triangle border, coat of arms at 1/3 of the flag, nearer to the flagpole. (1995/LXXXIII 8§ (2)) Ratio is defined by decree of Minister of Defense No. 3/1996.
These are all information at this time about usage and ratios of various Hungarian flags.
Zoltan Horvath, 14 January 2011
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
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
image by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999
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
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
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>.
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
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
By August 20th of this year (2011), a presidential and prime minister flags are going to be introduced. Standard of president would be a plain white flag with red and green flames at the borders, and charged with coat of arms in the center, which is supported by two angels. As I noticed, it is very similar to that flag used by Governor Horthy before the World War II. The design of angels-supported coat of arms can be seen at President's home page: http://www.keh.hu/
Zoltan Horvath, 14 January 2011
I have received some information about planned Hungarian prime minister's flag from a non-official, but informal source. Based on his information, it could be a white flag with green and red flamoulets, but charged with full coat of arms (flanked by oak leaves) in the center, and four crowns!! would be placed in each corner. Please note, this is not an official information, but came from vicinity of the government.
Zoltan Horvath, 17 January 2011
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