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Mulhouse (Municipality, Haut-Rhin, France)


Last modified: 2021-04-24 by ivan sache
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Flag of Mulhouse - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 13 October 2020

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Flag of Mulhouse

Since 1267 Mulhouse (Germn, "mill houses") has borne canting arms, "Argent a mill wheel of eight paddles gules". Nothing is known about medieval townflags. The only available sources are weather vanes with the mill wheel and occasional hints about banners in Swiss chronicles, as well as the red and white rank flags in the clothing of municipal employees and soldiers.

The Julius banner of Mulhouse, granted by Cardinal Schiner to the town (which served as an ally of the Swiss Confederation 1506-1798) for her services to the Roman Catholic Church, is well known (see The Flag Bulletin [tfb], 10 (2-3), 107-115).
The investiture decree of Pope Julius II, dated 20 December 1512, grants the town a banner charged with St. Stephen, its patron saint. On white damask, about 2 meters (6'6'') square, there is applied in the center a golden mill wheel. St. Stephen is featured in canton, richly embroidered on a green background. The saint, standing and dressed in a long white garment, holds a green palm in his right hand and a golden Bible in his left. The banner, including the canton, is bordered by brown hewn branches.
As an augmentation, the city received permission to change the red tincture of the mill wheel into a "knightly" gold.

Exact information about Mulhouse town flags is available only from the 18th century. Still preserved with the Julius banner in the town's Historical Museum, the flag used about 1770 by the Free Company contains 10 red and 10 white flames conjoined in the center. Similar, the town's flag, which, resembles in its design the gyronny wavy of the famous Swiss military flags. This banner was officially used for the last time as a symbol of the independent Republic of Mulhouse, on the occasion of the town's surrender to the French commissars on 15 March 1798.

Contrary to the situation in other Alsatian towns, the flag tradition of Mulhouse has continued since that time. Up to 1918 as well as during the Second World War when the area was again annexed to Germany, the flag could always be seen charged with the arms, usually in canton. Photographs showing the entry of French troops in 1945 depict a festive street decorated with the town flag, the Tricolor, and the flag of Free France. The town flag (photo, photo) is used during historic parades and festivities.
[Günther Mattern. 1972. A contribution to the history of the colors of Alsace and her cities [mar72], The Flag Bulletin [tfb], 1972, 11 (3), 297-325]

Pascal Vagnat & Olivier Touzeau , 14 October 2020