Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
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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
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
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
The Hungarian Parliament is going to draft and adopt a new constitution based on initiation of the new Hungarian Government. The Parliament is going to change the Hungarian coat of arms, and a state flag will be introduced. The original text of this draft is in website of Parliament of Hungary: www.parlament.hu.
Draft Constitution of the Republic of Hungary, 2010
"Art. 3: Magyarország nemzeti jelképei a címere, a nemzeti zászlaja, az állami lobogója és a himnusz. A címer hegyes talpú, hasított, tölgyfalombokkal övezett pajzs; első mezeje vörössel és ezüsttel hétszer vágott, második, vörös mezejében zöld hármas halomnak arany koronás kiemelkedő középső részén ezüst kettős kereszt; a pajzson a magyar Szent Korona nyugszik. Az állami lobogó a nemzeti zászló három, egyenlő szélességű piros, fehér és zöld színű vízszintes sávja, fehér sávjában a címerrel. A himnusz Kölcsey Ferenc Himnusz című költeménye Erkel Ferenc zenéjével. A nemzet ünnepei március 15-e, az 1848-1849-es forradalom és szabadságharc kezdetének, a modern parlamentáris Magyarország megszületésének napja, augusztus 20-a, Szent István király és az államalapítás ünnepe, amely hivatalos állami ünnep, valamint október 23-a, az 1956. évi forradalom és szabadságharc kezdetének napja. Magyarország fővárosa Budapest."
The English translation is:
"Art 3: Hungary's national symbols are the coat of arms, the national flag, the state flag and the anthem. The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Hungary is a vertically divided shield with a rounded base coming to a point, flanked by oak leaves. The left field contains eight horizontal bars of red and silver. The right field has a background of red and depicts a base of three green hills with a golden crown resting on the centre hill and a silver patriarchal cross issuing from the middle of the crown. The Holy Crown rests on the top of the shield. The state ensign [flag] is the national flag consisting of three equal width horizontal bars [stripes] with red, white and green [colours], and the coat of arms in the white bar [stripe]. The Anthem is lyrics of Ferenc Kölcsey with Ferenc Erkel's music. The national holidays are March 15th, the beginning of 1848-1849 uprising and revolution and the birth of modern parliamentary Hungary; August 20th, day of St. Stephen and establishment of the state, which is an official state holiday, and October 23rd, the start date of the 1956 uprising and revolution. Hungary's capital is Budapest."
Normally, a coat of arms could be changed when a significant change occur in a country, and the new government doesn't want to use old symbols. But nowadays there is no any necessity to change the coat of arms, and IMHO it is only initiated by new president who favors coat of arms version with oak leaves and angels as well.
Because of economic situation of the country, there are some opponents of this change. It would be a great amount of money, when current coat of arms must be replaced with a new one in all official documents, ID cards, passports, banknotes and coins, etc. All authorities must change their current seals. Additionally, replace of current national flag to a new state flag costs a lot of money for all governmental institutions, localities, when they have to use them on national holidays on the streets in every settlements of Hungary. (By current legislation, all official government and state institutions, and even local governments must hoist the flag all days in front of their building together with EU flag.)
Regarding the state flag, currently a national flag with (current) coat of arms is used widely, but unofficially (since 2005). Based on our current legislation, there is no state flag, but usage of coat of arms is defined by a law. It defines those persons and authorities who has right to use the coat of arms. There is no any sanction to use coat of arms version flag by an inappropriate body.
New coat of arms design is very similar to that one is used by Defense Forces (flanked by oak leaves): www.nemzetijelkepek.hu
The new design of state flag could be similar to this one (or with smaller size of coat of arms ) or it is an other image.
Note: draft text describes the new state flag with coat of arms in the white stripe. It is not clear whether it overlaps the two others or does not.
The reason (and current interpretation) of establishment of state flag is connected to Hungarians living outside of Hungary. Assuming the prohibition of usage of Hungarian state flag by Hungarian nationalities in neighboring countries (ie. use of flag of an other state), a state flag is going to be adopted, and the national flag could be use freely by any people. But there is no any ban of usage our flag in neighboring countries!!!
The proposed date of approval the new Constitution is someday in spring of 2011, around in March or April. Effective date will be 1st of January 2012.
Zoltan Horvath, 14 January 2011
This afternoon a new Hungarian Constitution draft has been published
replacing the former version drafted in December last year.
You can download it from here (in Hungarian, of course):
The previous version was withdrawn in February because of protest of opposite parties.
There is a lot changes in new text comparing the previous draft, but the most important, flag related issue is the national flag and coat of arms. There is no change in the text comparing to the current legislation!Previous draft would institute a new state flag and a new coat of arms, but they are not mentioned in new text. The relavant part can be found in page 3, Article I. This is almost the same text about coat of arms and flag. The only difference is the title of the country. The new draft would rename the official title from Republic of Hungary to Hungary simply. (Please do not ask me for the reason of it.)
Zoltan Horvath, 9 March 2011
Good solution. Most of the time from 896th and Vaik the country was known
simply as Hungary, not as Kingdom, Republic or People's Republic. Why the Szent
Korona on the COA of Republic?
Official title of Canada is Canada; Official title of Bosnia is Bosnia and Herzegovina (no Republic there).
Amer Sulejmanagic, 10 March 2011
It is not exactly true. Please check it in this
Wikipedia article, specially the name variations of the Kingdom of Hungary.
Except some short periods, mostly it was Kingdom of Hungary.
After a long debate the Hungarian Parliament decided on placing the crown on the coat of arms in 1990 in order to honour of St. Stephen, the founder and first king of Hungary. Even it was the official coat of arms of Hungary for long time of the history.
Zoltan Horvath, 10 March 2011
The Hungarian Parliament adopted the new Constitution of Hungary, today. It
will be effective from 1st January of 2012. Its text in Hungarian from the
The Hungarian flag remains the same as it is used currently, but its symbolism has been added to the text. No any state flag has been established.
Article I (2):
The flag of Hungary consists of three equal horizontal stripes, the upper red one is the symbol of power, the middle white stripe is of faith (loyalty), and the bottom green stripe is the symbol of hope.
Paragraph (4) states that the CoA and the flag can be used in other historically forms, as well. The destription of Coat of Arms is same as I previously reported.
The official title of the country will be Hungary (simply, without 'Republic of ')
Zoltan Horvath, 18 April 2011
I think that paragraph 4 is good solution.
Is it related to:
1. historical forms of present CoA and flag, or
2. various historical CoAs and flags?
I ask this because any previous CoA (even that one with shields of Bosnia, Croatia, Slavonia Dalmatia and Siebenburgen) represents Hungary well, and historical forms of present Hungarian flag are not known to me except we are talking about differrent dimensions of color stripes.
Anyhow, I think that it would be good for any country to use any previous CoA and flag as official.
Amer Sulejmanagic, 22 April 2011
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
István Molnár, 19 September 2001
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
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