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City of Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)

Stadt Kiel

Last modified: 2004-08-07 by santiago dotor
Keywords: kiel | stadt kiel | boat (black) |
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[City of Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] 3:5
by Jorge Candeias

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The crescent on this flag is a boat. And the correct shape of the white field would probably be rectangular, leaving only a red edge.

Quoting Louda, European Civic Coats of Arms, 1966:

134. Kiel (Federal German Republic)
The name of this important seaport, which was founded in the 13th century and received a charter in 1242, is of northern origin. Formerly the seat of the dukes of Holstein-Gottorp, Kiel became the chief town of Schleswig-Holstein in 1918. In the 13th century the arms bore only a Viking ship, while the present coat has been in use since 1300. It is based on the arms of Schaumberg (a nettle leaf and 3 nails of the Passion).
The boat refers to the name of the town, kiel being German for keel — a case of pars pro toto (or rather toto pro pars).

Ole Andersen, 18 May 1999

Editor's note: for a discussion on the nettle leaf or Nesselblatt, see the Schleswig-Holstein coat-of-arms.

From Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website:

Kiel became a city in 1242. The arms show the arms of the counts of Schaumburg and a black ship. Kiel was the capital of the counts of Holstein, who descended of the counts of Schaumburg. The leaf (Nesselblatt or nettle's leaf) already appeared on the first seals of the city. The oldest seals show a ship with the arms on the bow. Kiel has always been an important port and was also a member of the Hanseatic League. Later seals always showed either the arms alone or in combination with a ship. The ship inside the leaf appeared only later (15th century). First the ship was shown in the leaf like in the present arms, but in the 18-19th century the ship was often placed in an escutcheon.

Literature: Stadler 1964-1971 and Reissmann 1997.

Santiago Dotor, 21 November 2001