Last modified: 2023-09-23 by martin karner
Keywords: neuchâtel | canton | prussia | napoleon | french |
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Description of the flag
Tierced per pale vert, argent and gules, in sinister chief a cross
Divided vertically into three equal parts green, white and red. In the top corner of the fly is a small white Confederate Cross. The cross is the old Confederate style with long, narrow arms, and not the modern federal one with shorter, stubbier arms.
T.F. Mills, 4 November 1997
Symbolism of the flag
There are two theories about the symbolism of the Neuchâtel colours,
and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The current
cantonal flag was first adopted in the mid-19th century by the
republican and revolutionary party. Their flag was either
unimaginatively taken directly from the Italian republican and independentist movement, or the colours represented revolution (green
and white) and allegiance to Switzerland (red with white cross).
T.F. Mills, 4 November 1997
The colors are based upon the national colors of the herald of Neuchâtel,
green and white the colors of rebellion and red and white, the colors of the
Swiss flag. The cross was added in 1870 to distinguish the flag from the Italian
flag. The flag of 1350 (or, on a pale gules, three chevronels argent) was
discarded in 1848, but there have been three unsuccessful plebicites to
reintroduce this flag (1921, 1931, 1954).
Source: Angst (1992), "A Panoply of Colours: The Cantonal Banners of Switzerland and the Swiss National Flag"
Phil Nelson, 14 October 1998
Today, I read in the newspaper some definitions of the colours one can find on the
francophone Swiss cantons' flags. The sources are quite sure (Mr. Maurice de Tribolet,
who looks after the records of the Republic and Canton of Neuchâtel, and the article was in the
newspaper "Le Temps" of 4 January 2001, the biggest francophone Swiss newspaper). The flag had to be created
after the "Revolution of the 1st March 1848" and the Republicans had no time to try to find a new state
flag. They decided the "red" would stand for the south of the Canton because that is a great region for
wine production, the "white" would stand for the valleys and their "white walls" and the "green" would
stand for pastures and forests in the north of the Canton.
Nasha Gagnebin, 4 January 2001
I was interested to learn that the predominant colors in the Neuchâtel
arms were red and yellow. This explains why the infantry of Berthier's
Neuchâtel Battalion (which fought for Napoleon in Spain, Russia, Germany
and France) wore yellow "Spencer" coats with red collar, cuffs,
turnbacks and lapels – a most colorful and unusual uniform, even by the
gaudy standards of the Grand Army.
Tom Gregg, 3 February 1997
[Seal (1344–1370) of Count Louis of Neuchâtel, the knight's shield showing already the changed
arms, followed by the flag in 1350 (source). –
Original flag from 1848, location: Musée militaire et des toiles peintes, Colombier (source)]
Neuchâtel flag of 1350
image by António Martins
Neuchâtel flag of 1836–1848
image by ND
Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours
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
The little cross of the flag has been kept on the livery colours of Neuchâtel canton to avoid confusion with an
Pascal Gross, 22 April 2001