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Basel-Stadt canton (Switzerland)


Last modified: 2024-06-15 by martin karner
Keywords: switzerland | basel | basel-stadt | german | half-canton |
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[Flag of Basel-Stadt] image by António Martins

See also:

Description of the Flag

Argent, a bishop's crozier sable.
On a white field, a black bishop's crozier, with the crook turned toward the hoist.
T.F. Mills, 22 October 1997

Symbolism of the Flag

The bishop's crozier has three well accepted meanings since early Christianity: It is a support or guide (the shepherd's crook that saves straying sheep), an emblem of authority and ministration, and a instrument of punishment and correction.
The crozier is highly stylised (thickened and shortened beyond recognition), and its peculiar heraldic shape was well established by 1249. The three-pronged foot represents a very real spike on pastoral staffs which permitted planting them in the ground.
T.F. Mills, 22 October 1997

History of the Flag

The Bishopric of Basel, founded in 346 AD by Justitian, was the oldest and most important bishopric of the upper Rhine. The city state became sovereign within the Holy Roman Empire in 1356 when the city bought its civic rights from the bishop. The crozier was originally red, but probably changed to black in 1356. Basel joined the Swiss confederation in 1501.
T.F. Mills, 22 October 1997

On the Wikipedia page about the Basel staff (Baselstab) is shown – among other things – the oldest Basel banner (picture), 2nd half of 15th century. White Italian silk damask with a pomegranate pattern, the black Basel staff sewn on. Height: 100 cm, width: 122 cm. Location: Historical Museum Basel, Basel.
Martin Karner, 20 January 2023

["Auszug" flag of Basel from the Burgundian Wars (1474–77). Such (often triangular) "Auszugsfähnlein" for partial drafts were carried in Switzerland between the 14th and 16th century instead of the official banner. 110x86 cm. Location: Historical Museum, Basel. –
Zwickelbild of Basel's Julius Banner (1512), showing the Annunciation to Mary. This is from a copy of the banner which was used for battles. This banner and the original banner are lost. Location: Historical Museum, Basel. –
Stained glass plate (1512–20), showing Basel's coat of arms and Julius Banner, guarded by two griffins (The griffin, beside the basilisk, is a heraldic animal of Basel). Location. Historical Museum, Basel (Source of all three objects: [mue91]). –
Stained glass plate (1515), asc. to Hans Sterr/Jakob Meyer, with armed banner carrier and Julius Banner. Location: church of Jegenstorf BE (source). –
Civil drums from 1571 (oldest existing) and 1575. Drum cords were still used to tighten the skin, while military drums had long since adopted the metal screw. Location: Historic Museum, Basel (Pictures: postcards). –
Stained glass plate (1606), by Christof Murer for the townhall of Luzern (source: [b7b42]). –
Battalion flag (first half 19th c.). Cloth divided of black and white. Inscription on upper half: "I. BATAILLON. | III. REGIMENT.". Central medallion with black Basel staff and green laurel wreath with red berries. Same design on both sides. If the flag is from before 1833, it belonged to the common Basel canton (source: [b7b42]).]

Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours




[livery colours]

images by Pascal Gross

Flaggen are vertically hoisted from a crossbar in the manner of gonfanon, in ratio of about 2:9, with a swallowtail that indents about 2 units. The chief, or hoist (square part) usually incorporates the design from the coat of arms – not from the flag. The fly part is always divided lengthwise, usually in a bicolour, triband or tricolour pattern (except Schwyz which is monocolour, and Glarus which has four stripes of unequal width). The colours chosen for the fly end are usually the main colours of the coat of arms, but the choice is not always straight forward.

Knatterfahnen are similar to Flaggen, but hoisted from the long side and have no swallow tail. They normally show the national, cantonal or communal flag in their chiefs.
Željko Heimer, 16 July 2000

Rectangular variant

[Rectangular version of Basel-Stadt flag] image by António Martins

Observed during the 2002 Under-21 European Football Championship, held in Switzerland.
Jorge Candeias, 22 February 2002

Colour Flag

[Colour Flag BS] image by Ole Andersen

Simple rectangular cantonal flag, as shown in Mader (1942) (So-called colour flag [Farbenfahne in German]).
Martin Karner

Early 20th century flag design

image located by Martin Karner

At the beginning of the 20th century, flamed flags were still in use, with the white cross replaced by a (baroque) shield in the centre of the flag. These decorative flags had been used until WWII and then somewhat forgotten in preference of the current cantonal flags. [Today they are being produced again, see below]
Pascal Gross, 30 June 2002

[Flamed flag of Basel-Stadt] image located by Martin Karner

This flamed Basel flag was seen on the Basel Tattoo Parade in 2015. This parade is carried out during the annual Basel Tattoo with the participant groups and guest groups on the streets of Basel. (picture; source: DVD "Basel Tattoo 2015", SRF)
Martin Karner, 2 November 2023

See also:   - Other examples of "Early 20th century flag design": CH, AG, AI, AR, BE, BL, FR, GE, GL, GR, JU, LU, NE, NW, OW, SG, SH, SO, SZ, TG, TI, UR, VD, VS, ZG, ZH
                 - Modern flamed flags


image located by Martin Karner (8 May 2024)