Last modified: 2012-12-31 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: fehmarn | burg auf fehmarn | fehmarn city | fehmarn island | castle | towers(2) | wall | embattled | inescutcheon | nettle leaf | crown |
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Since 1st of January the four communities of the Island Fehmarn are united within the city of Fehmarn. It is now Schleswig-Holstein's second biggest city by area. It includes the settlements of Puttgarden, Bannesdorf, Burg, Orth, Landkirchen and Petersdorf.
Source: ZDF - German TV.
J. Patrick Fischer, 6 Jan 2003
Some more information: Until 2002 there were four municipalities on the island: Burg auf Fehmarn (city), Bannesdorf auf Fehmarn, Landkirchen auf Fehmarn, and Westfehmarn. The latter three were joined in the Amt Fehmarn
(an Amt is a level of administration between municipality and council level).
According to the website of Burg council the councils of the four former municipalities agreed to the union on 5 September 2002. The parliament of Schleswig-Holstein passed a law to this effect on October 11th, 2002. The law proposal is available here. According to the proposal the subcounty is to be disbanded on 1 January 2003, and the four municipalities are united to a new city by the name of "Fehmarn".
The agreement concerning the details of the unification (available from the Burg council) does not mention flags or coats-of-arms. Unfortunately, I have no information about the flag that was mentioned by Pascal below.
Stefan Schwoon, 7 Jan 2003
On 1 January 2003 the municipalities of Westfehmarn, Landkirchen auf Fehmarn and Bannesdorf auf Fehmarn, forming the subcounty (Amt) of Fehmarn, merged with the City of Burg auf Fehmarn The new city of Fehmarn was born and the whole island became one single subject of administration. According to §1 of Hauptsatzung of the new city from 16 April 2003 there exists neither an own coat of arms nor a municipal flag.
As municipal seal the smaller seal of Schleswig-Holstein with an inscription "Stadt Fehmarn" is used.
The plain blue island flag from 1580 with a royal crown in natural colours in its centre is used instead all over the island since today. An image of the flag can be seen e.g. at the tourist board website www.fehmarn.de. The municipal website displays the coat of arms of the former city of Burg auf Fehmarn
I spotted this flag on 18 April 2007 far away from the island near Bardowick (Lower Saxony).
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 Oct 2009
Description of flag:
The ratio is 1:2. It is a blue flag divided by two narrow, horizontal white stripes. The coat of arms is between the stripes and shifted to the hpist.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 31 Dec 2012
Description of coat of arms:
Over blue and silver (= white) waves is a red castle consisting of an embattled wall and two embattled towers. Wall and towers are masoned silver (=white). The wall has a closed golden (= yellow) gate. The towers have a blue triangular roof and two black windows each. Between the towers is an impending red inescutcheon displaying a silver (= white) nettle leaf.
For financial reasons the arms of the former city of Burg (Fehmarn) were kept. Furthermore the other municipalities had had no proper arms. Burg auf Fehmarn gained city rights in 1329 according to the laws of Lübeck. Castle and nettle leaf can be found on the oldest seals of the city. The Danish King Erich of Pommern devastated the island, because the nettle leaf had replaced the Danish royal crown in the seals. The number of windows in both towers is symbolizing the early division of the city into quarters. Each of them had a speaker called "Quartiersmann".
Source: Reißmann 1997, p.117
Flag and coat of arms were approved on 22 December 1966 as ymbols of the city of Burg auf Fehmarn. Both were abolished on 31 December 2002 and re-approved as symbols of the city of Fehmarn on 11 December 2003.The artist is Wilhelm Horst Lippert from Brunsbüttel.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 31 Dec 2012
There is already a flag for the island of Fehmarn available at some German flag shops. The flag is blue with a golden crown (inside red) in the middle. See a picture at this webpage.
Pascal Vagnat, 6 Jan 2003
The name of the island is derived from "fe more" , which means "lying in the sea". Count Adolf II of Schaumburg gained Wagrien in 1143 from Duke Heinrich, called the lion, of Saxony. Adolf did that to the Slavic tribes, what is nowadays called ethnic cleansing. Those ones, who left their homes voluntarily, gained Lütjenburg, Oldenburg and Fehmarn as a kind of compensation. Afterwards German tribes settled down on the island but there seemed to be a way of coexistence. The island was free of serfdom, which was no matter of course, and gained the status of a Landschaft, like Dithmarschen and Nordfriesland. Though Denmark lost Holstein after the defeat in the battle of Bornhöved in 1227, Fehmarn remained a part of Denmark and was separated from the rest of Holstein. Since 1340 King Waldemar Atterdag of Denmark tried to gain control over the Duchy of Schleswig and he also conquered Fehmarn. In 1360 however he had to concede the status-quo-ante and the counts of Schaumburg regained control. In 1397 the island was united with Duchy of Schleswig, which was under the rule of Gerhard VI from the Plön branch of the counts of Schauenburg.
Fehmarn became again and again the victim of Danish crown-affairs. The worst disaster occurred in 1428, when Erich von Pommern devastated the island in order to punish the inhabitants, who used a seal of the rulers of Holstein. The bloodshed was so heavy, that the island could be restored only with the help of new settlers from Dithmarschen. The efforts of Erich von Pommern had failed and the rulers of Holstein kept control of Fehmarn. The status of Fehmarn remained unclear until 1579, when negotiations began between the representatives of King Frederik II of Denmark and two Dukes of Gottorf, Johann the Elder and Adolf. One result was, to grant an own coat of arms to the island of Fehmarn. Frederik II reconfirmed the coat of arms on 3 May 1580 and also granted an armorial flag to the island.
Afterwards Fehmarn became an official part of the Duchy of Schleswig, reigned by the Dukes of Oldenburg. When Schleswig-Holstein was divided in 1581 into a royal portion and a ducal portion, Fehmarn became part of the latter. Things were really complicated:
The "common government" held an assembly every year on St.Michaels day (29 September) with alternating chairmen.
The King of Denmark was:
1) as the bearer of the Danish crown the supreme lord of fief from Schleswig
2) Duke of Schleswig and Holstein together with the Duke of Gottorp
--a) co-regent of the common portion
--b) regent of the royal portion of both duchies
The Duke of Gottorp was:
1) vassal of the Danish king as Duke of Schleswig
2) vassal of the German emperor as Duke of Holstein
--a) co-regent of the common portion
--b) regent of the ducal portion of both duchies.
The whole land had been divided in a funny way, not depending on natural parts of the country, but divided in order to get the same incomes from the land.
The coat of arms of Fehmarn became part of the royal Danish coat of arms since the rule of King Frederik III (1648-1670).
Sources: Otto Brandt: "Geschichte Schleswig-Holsteins"; 5th edition; Kiel 1957
Walther Stephan: "Wappen Schleswig-Holsteins und seiner Landschaften"; Neumünster 1953, p.27-28 City of Fehmarn (Ostholstein county; Schleswig-Holstein)
back to Ostholstein cities and municipalities click here.