Last modified: 2011-11-11 by editor unassigned
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image by Marcus Schmöger, 15 Oct 2001
Flag adopted 1989
Black over red over blue. Eastern Friesland is now a part of Lower Saxony, but at one time it was an independent state, until 1744. Later it became part of Prussia, then Hannover, then Prussia again. At times it was ruled by France or the Netherlands.
See also Zwischen Borkum und Sylt: Die Wappen und Flaggen der deutschen Watteninseln
(From Borkum to Sylt: Coats-of-Arms and Flags of the German 'Mud Islands', German text only) by Hans van Heijningen at
Der Flaggenkurier website, images available in a zipped PDF file here.
Carl-Heinz Dirks, 12 Dec 1997
In the Flags of Aspirant Peoples chart appears "74. East Frisians (Saterland) - Western Germany". Identical to the image above.
Ivan Sache, 14 Sep 1999
Only one part of Lower Saxony forms a Höhere Kommunalverband (higher communal association), namely the Ostfriesische Landschaft, mainly due to the fact that for long periods of time Ostfriesland (Eastern Friesland) had a high level of autonomy. The arms used by the Ostfriesische Landschaft is that used traditionally by the County of East Frisia, confirmed in 1678 by the Emperor [an image of the escutcheon alone is available at the International Civic Arms website].
The mantling of the arms provided the basis for the colours of the flag, a horizontal triband of black-red-blue. Although used unofficially by the people as well as probably by the Ostfriesische Landschaft, it was not until 1989, that the flag was legally prescribed in the statutes of the Ostfriesische Landschaft.
- Dieter Linder, The "Höhere Kommunalverbände" in Germany, oral presentation during the 19th International Congress of Vexillology at York (23-27 July 2001) (with permission of the author)
- Ostfriesische Landschaft website
Marcus Schmöger, 15 Oct 2001
Description of flag:
The ratio is probably 3:5. It is a black over red over blue horizontal tricolour with the coat of arms of the kin of Cirksena in the centre.
Black is taken from the coat of arms of the Cirksena kin, red from that one of the tom Brook kin and finally blue is representing Harlingerland.
Description of coat of arms: T
he shield is quarterly divided into six quarters and topped by three silver helmets crowned golden and flanked by scarves, red and yellow at the dexter side, blue and yellow at the sinister side.
The upper dexter quarter shows a golden harpy in a black field, surrounded by four spur-wheels of the same colour, one in each corner.
The upper sinister quarter shows a golden crowned eagle in a red field.
The central dexter quarter shows a silver field divided by a red fess, which is superimposed by five alternating golden and silver rhombs. In the upper white field are two lying blue crescents, in the lower field is one.
The central sinister quarter shows in a blue field a silver lion passant having an overturned golden coronet as its necklace.
The lower dexter quarter shows in a golden field a black bear rampant, tongued red and bearing a golden necklace.
The lower sinister quarter shows in a blue filed two golden whips, in saltire.
The dexter crest is a golden eagle having red wings.
The central crest is a golden fleur de lys with white plumes.
The sinister crest is a blue fleur de lys flanked by two golden whips.
Meaning: The harpy is taken from the former coat of arms of the Cirksena kin. The Cirksenas came from Greetsiel. They were appointed as counts of Eastern Frisia in 1464. They became extinct in 1744. The central crest also is taken from their former coat of arms.
The eagle is representing the kin of tom Brook, formerly residing in Brookmerland. The chieftains of this kin controlled wide parts of Eastern Frisia until they were defeated by a coalition, led by Fokko Ukena in 1426. The dexter crest also is taken from the coat of arms of the tom Brooks.
The fess with the crescents is representing the chieftains of Manslagt, which had been connected by marriages with the Cirksena kin for ages.
The lion statant is representing Fokko Ukena form Leer and Moormerland, who ruled nearly whole Eastern Frisia from 1426 to 1431, when he was defeated by a coalition led by the Cirksenas. His granddaughter Theda was the wife of first count Ulrich I. Cirksena and ruled the country herself from 1466 to 1480. This field today is still the coat of arms of Leer county.
The bear is representing the municipality of Esens.
The whips are representing the chieftain Hero Omken from the Attena kin. The Attenas were rulers of Harlingerland and became extinct in 1450. Harlingerland became part of the county of Rietberg (today Gütersloh county). and became part of Eastern Frisia in 1600, but was fully incorporated later, in 1625.
The whips and the bear together are representing Harlingerland.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 May 2009