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Portuguese Governmental Flags

Last modified: 2015-01-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: president | prime minister | minister | navy minister | government | border (red) | coat of arms: inescutcheons | laurel | cross(green) | saltire(green) | war minister | health ministry | human | sef | swallow | parliament |
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Introductory note

While the President’s flag is still used nowadays, I’ve never seen any of the other ministers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were abolished after the 1974 revolution.
António Martins, 3 Feb 1998

Presidential flag

Portuguese presidential flag
image by Vítor Luís and António Martins, 14 Jan 2006

The President’s flag is a plain green 2:3 with the national coat of arms (only sphere and shield, no ribbon nor wreath) in the center.
António Martins, 3 Feb 1998

I think it flies usually over the Palace of Belém, and I seem to recall that I saw it flying over the Fort of São Julião da Barra (another real estate that belongs to the portuguese presidency) when Jorge Sampaio lived there for a while recovering from his heart operation. Further, every time the president has some ceremony more pompous to attend, this flag can be seen in his car.
Jorge Candeias, 22 July 1998

Just a few hours ago I watched a TV trivia quiz (O Jogo da Espera, RTP1) where the very first question was «What is the meaning of a green ensign »(= pavilhão, sic!)« hoisted in Belém Palace?» Being this the official portuguese PR residence and even though the question is misworded (the PR flag is green with the coat of arms), this may mean that the presidential flag is a presence mark at least at the official residence — and I’d bet it’s the same in most military facilities, notably naval ships.

(If I were at the quizz I’d loose my 30000 euros to jest that a plain green flag (and not the proper PR flag with arms) hoisted at the presidential palace can only mean that either we were invaded by Libya or that it is safe to swim at the palace…)

António Martins-Tuválkin, 22 May 2002

Erroneous depictions of the presidential flag

It is interesting to note that the two most widespead representations of this flag are both incorrect, while the flag itself, being a presence mark, is not often seen:

Presidential square flag

Portuguese presidential flag
image by António Martins-Tuválkin,
In an itinerant exhibition about the history of the Portuguese national flag and on its catalogue , the presidential flag is shown square.
Source: "Bandeiras de Portugal"

Presidential flag with off-centred arms

Portuguese presidential flag
image by António Martins-Tuválkin,
In a full page feature about the national flag, it is shown with the arms off- centred to the hoist, in the same position as in the national flag, instead of centred.
Source:Diário de Notícias_ (one of the best regarded and widely read daily newspapers in Portugal), editon 13 Jan 2006

António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 Jan 2006

Prime minister flag

Portuguese Prime-Minister flag
image by António Martins

The Prime Minister flag is like a regular minister’s flag, but differs by a gold on red laurel border.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 03 Feb 1998

A flag for the Prime Minister was adopted 2 february 1972. This flag is like the flag of the President, but is white with a green saltire with the Arms (sphere and shield) at the centre. There is a red border on all four sides with a pattern of laurel leaves in gold. This replaces the former flag of the Minister of defence.
Mark Sensen, 05 Jun 1997,
quoting [barXX]

Minister flag

Portuguese minister flag
image by Mark Sensen and António Martins

The Minister flag is a 2:3 white with green saltire charged with the coat of arms in the center.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 3 Feb 1998

An ordinary Minister has the same flag [as the prime-minister] but without border.
Mark Sensen, 05 Jun 1997,
quoting [barXX]

Flag of the Minister of the Navy

Flag of the Portuguese Ministery of the Navy
image by Mark Sensen and António Martins

There is no “Ministery of the Navy” anymore, so its flag if still exists, must be used by the ministery of defense, or by the president in his condition of supreme commander of the armed forces.
Jorge Candeias, 22 Jul 1998

The Navy Ministry uses a regular cross throughout instead of saltire, being this the “top” level for green-cross-on-white naval rank flags of the Portuguese Navy.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 3 Feb 1998

The Minister for the Navy has a white flag with a green cross of Saint George, with the Arms in the centre.
Mark Sensen, 05 Jun 1997,
quoting [barXX]

Flag of the Minister for War

The Minister for War has a flag divided vertically like that of the Army, but with five white stars over all, arranged in a ring.
Mark Sensen, 5 June 1997,
quoting [barXX]

Parliament flag

parliament flag [PT]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 Dec 2006

On 28 December 2006 vexillologist Ricardo Monteiro reported the existence of a parliament flag, approved on 14 December 2006 and published as Resolução da Assembleia da Repúública n.º 73/2006 in Diário da República: I Série on 28 December 2006 See also here
It is a new law, creating, describing, authorizing and regulating the flag of the Portuguese "National Assembly" (parliament). It follows the pattern of the presidential flag, with the sphere Coat of arms centred on a white flag with a wide dark green border (width 1/6th of the flag's height).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 Dec 2006

Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras
SEF - Service of Borders and Foreign Nationals

SEF flag
image by Jorge Candeias, 7 Sep 2003

According to an recent Público newspaper photo, the flag of SEF is a light monocoloured (almost certainly white) flag with the service’s coat of arms and the service’s name, centered.
Jorge Candeias, 7 Sep 2003

Arms detail

SEF arms
image by Jorge Candeias, 8 Sep 2003

The arms is very heraldic, with a helm topped by a swallow as crest, a scroll with the service’s motto («SUB LEGE LIBERTAS» — i.e. latin for «Freedom under the law») and a dark purple shield containing an armillary sphere topped by a cross of the Order of Christ, all gold. This coat of arms can be seen in several sizes at the service’s website. (While the versions at the website show all the elements of the arms filled with 3D shadings, the arms as depicted in the flag does not, at least in the portion of it that is visible in my photo source.)
Jorge Candeias, 7 Sep 2003

The swallow was chosen (I reckon) because it is a migratory bird, and this government institution (dependent from the Ministry of Internal Affairs) deals mostely with immigration issues.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 Sep 2003

Health Ministry flag

Health Ministry flag
image by António Martins, 6 Sep 2003

I saw this one hoisted at the local ambulatory in Colares, Sintra. It is the usual logo of the portuguese Health Ministry on a white square background, “completed” up to 2:3 with two stripes: green at the hoist and red at the fly. I could not confirm its officialness.
António Martins, 6 Sep 2003

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