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Fribourg / Freiburg canton (Switerland)
Last modified: 2006-12-30 by pascal gross
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by António Martins
Description of the flag
Per fess sable and argent.
Divided horizontally into equal parts black over white.
Symbolism of the flag
There is no definite understanding of the symbolism of Fribourg's
flag, but there are several theories. One holds that black
represents the clergy which was dominant there, as in their black
vestments, representing piety, devotion, and self-denial. Another
claims that the black represents the rich cultivated earth, while
the white is the water surrounding the city (Sarine River). A
third, and certainly the most interesting legend, has it that Duke
Berchtold IV of Zahringia, founder of the city, spent a night in a
charcoal burner's hut after being separated from his hunting party.
He slept on sacks of charcoal and flour, and emerged in the morning
all soiled black and white. He was thus inspired to grant his new
town a black and white flag.
History of the flag
The city of Fribourg was founded in 1176. The battle flag may have
been adopted as early as 1225, but the earliest documented evidence
of it is in 1410. (Since the city-state was waging war in the early
13th century, it had to have a war flag.) Until 1831 the city-state
carried two shields, one identical to the flag, and the other
featuring a white castle on a blue field. It is fairly certain the
castle device never figured on a flag. Fribourg became a sovereign
state in 1477, and was one of two admitted to the Swiss Confederation
by the Covenant of Stans in 1481.
T.F. Mills, 19 October 1997
by Pascal Gross
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