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Märkisch County (Germany)

Märkischer Kreis, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Last modified: 2020-06-02 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: maerkischer kreis | iserlohn(county) | uedenscheid(county) | altena(county) | markian chequered bar | demi-lion(black) | cross(black) | demi-horse | lion(red) |
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[Märkischer Kreis flag] 3:5  image by Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001 See also:

Märkisch County (Märkischer Kreis)

Introduction

The county was created in 1975 by joining the former counties of Iserlohn and Lüdenscheid, and the [until then] county-free city of Iserlohn. Lüdenscheid county was named Altena county before 1969 when the (formerly county-free) city of Lüdenscheid was integrated into it.
The name of the Märkischer Kreis county refers to the former County of Mark (in the medieval sense) (German: Grafschaft Mark) which included the area south of Dortmund, but not including the city. The name is not quite appropriate since the modern county includes only the southeastern part of the former Grafschaft Mark, and because some parts of it belonged to other territories (Duchy of Westfalen, belonging to the Archbishopric of Köln, and the County of Limburg). All of these territories were part of the Prussian province of Westfalen after 1815, but their symbols still occur in the municipal arms (and hence the flags):
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

While cities traditionally had the right to bear arms, municipalities in Prussia were not entitled to them until 1933. In the years thereafter, many municipalities in Prussia and all municipalities in the area of the Märkischer Kreis county adopted arms. A number of the newly adopted or changed arms of this time owed their symbolism to Nazi ideology. Therefore, after 1945, all civic arms in Germany were taken under scrutiny, and swastikas and other deprecated symbols had to be removed. However, no arms in the Märkischer Kreis county were required to change.

Stefan Schwoon, 29 June 2001

Märkisch County Flag

It is a yellow-red-yellow horizontal triband in proportions 1:3:1 with arms in the centre of the red stripe.
Source: 2(3) of Hauptsatzung of Märkischer Kreis, version 30 June 1998, last updated 30 March 2017
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

Märkisch County Banner

[Märkisch County banner] 3:1 image by Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

It is a yellow-red-yellow vertical triband in proportions 1:3:1 with arms in red stripe and shifted to the top.
Source: Hostert 1979, a book describing the symbols of the county and its 15 municipalities with assistance of Falko Schmidt
Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Märkisch County Coat of Arms

Shield parted per fess; above Or a demi-lion issuant Sable aremd and tongued Gules; beneath parted per fess, above a bar chequered of gules and Argent (3 × 9), beneath Argent parted by a cross Sable
Meaning:
All parts fefer to former rulers of parts of the current county:

  • County of Mark: on a golden field, a chequered bar in red and white, normally 3 × 9 fields [blazon: Or, a fess chequy Gules and Argent].
  • Archbishopric of Köln: black cross on a silver field [blazon: Argent, a cross Sable].
  • County of Limburg: on a silver field a red lion armed and crowned blue [blazon: Argent, a lion Gules, armed and crowned Azure].

The lion in the upper half corresponds to an older version of the arms of Mark.
Source: 2(1) of Hauptsatzung of Märkischer Kreis, version 30 June 1998, last updated 30 March 2017
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

Flag, banner and arms were approved on 6 May 1976 by district governor (Regierungspräsident) of Arnsberg.
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001


Iserlohn County (until 1975)

Iserlohn County Flag

[Iserlohn county flag] 3:5 image by Stefan Schwoon

The former county of Iserlohn used a white-red horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source: letter from county archive of Märkischer Kreis to Falko Schmidt on 9 February 2000
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

Iserlohn County Coat of Arms

Shield parted per fess; above Gules a demi-horse issuant Argent; beneath twice parted per pale; at dexter Argent parted by a centred cross Sable; in centre Or a bar chequered of Gules and Argent (3 × 4); at sinister Argent a lion rampant Gules crowned, armed and tongued Azure.
Meaning:
The upper half is a differentiation of the arms of Prussian province of Westfalen, the black cross displays the arms of the Archbishopric of Köln, representing especially Menden. The chequered bar is a differentiation of the family arms of the Counts of Mark representing the subcounties (Ämter) Schwerte, Hemer, Westhofen and Iserlohn. The lion is taken from the arms of the Counts of Limburg, who owned Hohenlimburg until 1459.
Source: Stadler 1964, p.48
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 May 2020

The arms were approved on 26 April 1935 by Prussian Minister of State. Flag and arms were abolished on 31 December 1974.
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001 and Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 May 2020


LüdenscheidCounty (until 1975)

LüdenscheidCounty Flag

[Lüdenscheid/Altena county flag] 3:5 image by Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

The former county of Lüdenscheid used a white-red horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source: letter from county archive of Märkischer Kreis to Falko Schmidt on 9 February 2000
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

Lüdenscheid County Coat of Arms

Shield Or parted abased by a fess chequered of Gules and Argent (3 × 8); issuant from fess a demi-lion issuant Sable armed and tongued Gules.
Meaning:
Altena County was the first to be dissolved by adminsitrative changes in Nordrhein-Westfalen on 31 December 1968. It merged with the city of Lüdenscheid and some municipalities of the counties of (old) Lüdenscheid and Arnsberg, forming the new Lüdenscheid County.
The current county was ruled by the Counts of Mark, the former Counts of Altena with their incestral seat on the namesake castle. In 1511 they inherited the Duchy of Jülich and the Duchy of Berg. The lion issuant and the Markian chequered bar are taken from the family arms of the Counts of Altena-Mark from the 13th century. The tinctures of the lion here are those of the Dukes of Jülich.
Source: Stadler 1964, p.12
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 May 2020

The arms were approved on 3 May 1935 by Prussian Minister of State for Altena County. Flag and arms were confirmed on 1 January 1969 for Lüdenscheid County and abolished on 31 December 1974.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 May 2020


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