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Nürnberg City (Germany)

Stadt Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Bayern

Last modified: 2021-12-18 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: nuernberg | nuremberg | demi-eagle | couped per pale | bends(6) | bannerhead |
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[Nürnberg/Nuremberg city flag]
3:5 image by Stefan Schwoon, 5 Mar 2001
[Nürnberg bendy city flag]
3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

See also:

Nürnberg Flag

Nürnberg Flag

Red over white horizontal bicolour, presently without the arms (see left image above). The city flag is derived from the lesser arms. Klemens Stadler (1968) also mentions a city flag bendy of red and white (see right image above), which I can't confirm by own observation.
Sources: Staack 1997 and Stadler 1968, p.31
Dieter Linder, 18 Nov 1998 , Stefan Schwoon, 5 Mar 2001 , Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Banner, reported 1933

[Nürnberg banner, reported 1933] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

The ratio of banner is nearly 4:1 without the appendix below. The banner is vertically divided into red and white with one of the both coat of arms of arms of the city clearly shifted to the top. The width of coat of armst of arms takes nearly total width of banner. The appendix consists of six pairs of alternating red and white stripes of cloth.
Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung, edition of 9 February 2007; p.43; showing a photo from 1933.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

Banner, reported 1938

[Nürnberg banner, reported 1938] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

The ratio of banner is approx. 10:3. The banner is vertically divided into red and white and has a bannerhead  containing one of the both coat of armst of arms of the city. The height of the bannerhead is 3/10 of total height.
Source:[neu39a]; p.94
Surprisingly I found only the red over white bicolour in our pages. The coat of arms differs a little bit in every of the three images from today.
In the 1939 version my image is based on that one of Neubecker within source. Neubecker mentions, that that banner - with bannerhead - would be a very good example of modern city flags (at his time).
The 1998 version coat of arms seems to be more or less the same like that one, depicted on R.Hartemink's website. So that eagle is armed golden but tongued red.
From the 1933 version I have of course only a B/W image. But being near to 1939, I gave the eagle red tongue and claws. The bendy lines in this version are more narrow than in both others.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

Banner of 1998

[Nürnberg banner of 1998] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

The ratio of banner is estimated 5:2 . The banner is vertically divided into red and white with one of the both coat of arms of the city in it's centre.
Source:"HB-Bildatlas no.182: Tauber und Neckar"; Hamburg 1998; ISBN 3-6160-6116-4
There exists also a photo of Stefan Schwoon, published in
Description of coat of arms: The shield is divided per pale. The dexter side shows a half black double headed eagle, armed and tongued red in a golden(=yellow) field. The sinister side is a silver (=white) field containing three red bends.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Oct 2008

Banners, spotted 2011

Visiting Nürnberg I saw two variants of a banner, both ratio approx 5:2.
[plain Banner of 2011] 5:2 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 4 Mar 2011

Variant #1:
It is a plain red - white bicolour. This variant seemed to be the official version, hoisted at the city gates.
[Banner with CoA of 2011] 5:2 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 4 Mar 2011
The same like variant#1 with the er coat of arms at the top of the flag, hoisted in front of hotels.
As M. Schmöger already told us, in Germany have been loads of cities and municipalities having a plain red - white (or white - red) flag, among those many former Hansa cities. Some have added the coat of arms as distinguishing marks, some, as e.g. Nürnberg, have not. Nevertheless flags having the coat of arms added are widely used.
A photo of the plain banner can be seen at Stefan Schwoon's database
Source: I spotted these banners in Nürnberg on 17 February 2011.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 4 Mar 2011

Bendy Banner, reported 1968

[plain Nürnberg bendy banner 1968] 5:2 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 4 Mar 2011

Klemens Stadler mentions a city banner bendy of red and white, which I can't confirm by own observation.
Source:Stadler 1968, p.31
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Other Banners

There is a photograph in this page of Hitler reviewing a parade in downtown Nuremberg in 1938. It shows a close up of a vertical flag, red and white stripes with in the upper part a plain blue square with a golden eagle. Is it a Nuremberg flag?
Santiago Tazán, 18 Nov 2001

Obviously it is a Nuremberg city flag, yes. The city colours are red-white, and therefore the flag (as quite usual a hanging flag) is striped in these colours. Furthermore the arms are shown, here in a field at the top of the flag. The arms shows a golden eagle [with crowned, human head] on blue (see the International Civic Arms website). The arms in this flag are more stylized than usual, though.
M. Schmöger, 18 Nov 2001

I had seen a similar picture before in black and white, but it was captioned something like "Nuremberg congress ca. 1935" so I was hesitant to report it as 'evidence' that at least city flags had not been really abolished in 1935, nor completely fallen into disuse after that date. The above picture is linked from this page according to which the original source is the cover of the first October 1938 issue of NS Frauen-Warte.
Santiago Dotor, 19 Nov 2001

Here is a picture showing a poster for the 'Reichsparteitag Nürnberg', identified in the url as dating from 1939 (although the map of Germany, too, is a pointer): We see the city flag with the 'humanised eagle' on the castle and although this is not a photo, at least it indicates that the authorities were willing to show this flag. (On the other hand it could be an idealized rendering, or one showing a situation a few years earlier).
Anyway, there's the poster. Ah yes, there's an ugly finial as well.
Jan Mertens, 5 June 2004

City flags were never abolished, only Länder and Prussian provincial flags were abolished. This led to the fact, for instance, that the flag of Lübeck fell out of use as a flag of a Land, but continued as city flag (newly regulated 22 Dec 1935). I guess (but do not know exactly) that it was similar in Hamburg and Bremen.
M. Schmöger, 8 Jun 2004

Nürnberg Coats of Arms

Nürnberg became a city in 1219 and became one of the most important cities in present Bayern. The city uses two different arms; the greater arms with the eagle with a king's head and the lesser arms with the eagle and red bends. Both were adopted in 1936. The lesser arms are known as the real arms since 1240, where they are first mentioned. The arms showed a shield divided into six bends silver (=white) and red (or: five times divided per bend). The arms are probably derived from the arms of the first Viscounts of Nürnberg. During the centuries the number of bends changed regularly and were finally fixed in 1936.
Source: Ralf Hartemink's website
Santiago Dotor, 11 Jan 2002

Greater Arms

[Nürnberg greater arms] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Shield Azure an eagle Or with a king's head gauardant crowned Or.
The arms are based on a city seal. The first seal was mentioned in 1220, probably displaying the pattern of the seal mentioned in 1243, known by prints since 1254. Ist circumscription "SIGILLUM UNIVERSITATIS CIVIUM DE NURENBERCH" confirms that the city was under direct imperial rule, or in other words: It was a Free Imperial City. The eagle with king's head appeared on all main seals of the city between 1345 and 1808 and also on its secret seals between 1368 and 1806. The secret seal was smaller than the main seal and was used in order to occlude letters with an initial "N" as counter seal (German: Rücksiegel). Later it was also used as open seal besides the main seal on charters. In the middle of the 14th century it was printed on brown wax and displayed a dexter facing one headed imperial eagle. It became the seal of the city court of justice and had a counter seal displaying an initial "N". The seals of the mayor with prints since 1246 however also displayed the one headed imperial eagle. The version with the king's head can be found on local architectural sculptures since the 14th century and in literature since the 15th century. In the 15th century the eagle changed to a harpy, also called a maid(en) eagle, i.e. the crowned head of the king was replaced by the bust of a female with naked bosom. This eagle often was interpreted as a nymph named Noris. It appeared on all later city seals. Different explanations were given for the change. Humanist Conrad Celtis (1459 - 1508) claimed, the new eagle would be a joke, because the males of Nürnberg had been henpecked. Others claimed that the city had been under the constellation of Virgo (=maid). Others claimed that the city never had been conquered and thus kept its maidenhood or virginity.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Lesser Arms

[Nürnberg lesser arms] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Shield parted per pale; at dexter Or a demi-eagle Sable couped per pale, armed Or and tongued Gules, at sinister bendy of six of Gules and Argent.
Around 1260 Konrad of Mure mentioned a city coat of arms bendy of six of Argent and Gules, which is related to the orle of the shield of the Burgraves of Nürnberg since 1240. The tinctures are those of the Holy Roman Empire. Connected with the couped demi-eagle the pattern appears on architectural sculptures side by side with the greater arms since the 14th century. It was also used as counter seal (German: Rücksiegel) since 1350. Since 1513 this pattern was used by all city departments and authorities for external affairs, furthermore as identifier for local trading goods, measures and weights. The pattern of the sinister half changed frequently relating to the number of bends and the succession of tinctures. In order to verify the main seal on charters a counter seal (German: Rücksiegel) was needed. It had been the predecessor of the lesser arms. First a mere glazing of the reverse of the main seal had been sufficient. Later the verification was made by fingerprints and thumbprints. Those were replaced since the first half of the 14th century by three horizontal notches. In 1346 they were replaced by a crowned initial "N" with abbreviated circumscription "SIGNETUM SECRETUN NURENBERGENSE". As the main seal was used by the leaders of insurrectionary craftsmen in 1348 and 1349, King Karl IV made their charters invalid and granted the counter seal to the city, where it remained in use between 1350 and 1806.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

Seals and Arms since the 19th Century

Since the beginning of the 19th century the Bavarian governments tried to subdue the proper symbols, especially of those parts, which Bayern had gained since 1803. These attempts pertained especially to Franken (Franconia) and Schwaben (Swabia). Finally n 1819 a new seal was created, based on the 3-fold arms based on an image of Konrad Tyroff (1771 - 1826). The struggle about the city arms went on until 1897.
Finally the blue shield with the golden eagle with king's head was approved in the tinctures of 1484 as greater city arms and the shield parted per pale as lesser city arms on 25 November 1936 by governor (Reichsstatthalter) of Bayern. Since then the harpy was abolished. The greater arms were confirmed in 1963 by the city council. Companies from Nürnberg are allowed to use the lesser arms in proper reproduction for advertising purposes. They can also be seen on many sales stalls of lebkuchen, a German version of gingerbread cake, on any German parish fair, especially before Christmas, as Nürnberg is famous for its lebkuchen. Furthermore the lesser arms or parts of it, demi-eagle or bendy shield, are parts of the municipal arms of many municipalities in Nürnberger Land County, the complete lesser arms also in the municipal arms of Hiltpoltstein and Lichtenau, the red and white orle of the burgraves in the municipal arms of Markt Erlbach . Altogether the arms of 17 municipalities, of two counties and three former counties display the lesser arms or parts of it. (see the full list at German WIKIPEDIA. But astonishingly the greater arms can only be found in a differentiated version in the municipal arms of Leinburg.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

1) Stadler 1968
2) Klemens Stadler: "Wappen in Bayern" (exhibition catalogues of the Bavarian State Archive, vol.8), München 1974, pp. 98,102-103
3) Michael Diefenbacher and Endres Rudolf (editors): "Stadtlexikon Nürnberg", Nürnberg 1999, pp.1157-1158.
4) Reinhold Schaffer: "Die Siegel und Wappen der Reichsstadt Nürnberg", in: Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte, 1937, pp.157-203

Good compilations in German can be found on these webpages:Haus der bayrischen Geschichte and German WIKIPEDIA
Ralf Hartemink's webpage displays more images of different versions of both coats of arms.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 Dec 2021

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