Swiss Flag

Swiss Flag



The Flag of Switzerland - Description of the Swiss Flag
  • As the above picture of the Swiss Flag indicates the overall background is Red
  • The description of the Swiss Flag is as follows:
    • Red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag
  • According to Ancient and Heraldic traditions much symbolism is associated with colors. The colors on the Swiss flag represent the following:
    • White - peace and honesty
    • Red - hardiness, bravery, strength & valour

  • The basic style shown in the picture of the Swiss flag is described as a Cross reflecting the central design of the flag pattern
  • All Flag pictures depict flags flying, from the viewer's point of view, from left to right
  • The shape and flag ratio of the Swiss flag is described as 2:3 ( length 1 times the height )
  • The left half of the flag ( viewer's left side ) is called the Hoist
  • The upper left quarter of the flag is called the Canton
  • The right half of the flag is called the Fly
  • The Meaning & History of the Swiss Flag
    • The flag is based on that of the Canton of Schwyz which derive from the Holy Roman Empire
    • The Swiss flag traditionally stands for freedom, honour and fidelity
  • The Swiss flag was adopted in 1889

Canton - Flag Terminology

Flag Terminology - Did you Know ?
  • The design and description uses specific flag terminology based on Heraldic principles
  • Animal blazons should always appear with the heads facing the flag - staff side
  • The Study of the Flags is called Vexillology
  • Your interest in flags makes you a Vexillologist!
  • Increase your knowledge - Play the Flag Quiz
Swiss Flag Etiquette
  • Swiss Flag etiquette is very strict and is is essential that Flag protocols and rules are followed correctly
  • Basic Flag Etiquette applies to all nations, including Swiss as follows:
  • Etiquette relating to the order of precedence for the flag
    • National Flag of Swiss
    • State Flag of Swiss
    • Military Flag of Swiss (in order of creation date)
    • Other Flag of Swiss
  • The United Nations uses alphabetical order when presenting a national flag including the Swiss Flag. Their flag etiquette ensures that no one country's flag has precedence over another country's flag
  • The National flag of Swiss should never be flown above another national flag on the same staff as this would suggest superiority, or conversely, inferiority of one flag, or Nation, over another
  • The Swiss flag should never be allowed to drag along the ground
  • A tattered or faded flag of Swiss should be removed and replaced with a new flag
  • Due care and consideration must be taken to ensure that the Swiss flag is always flown the correct way up
  • A Flag of Swiss, when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning in private with all due care and respect
Flag History & Evolution:
  • The idea of flying a flag grew from the requirements of ancient warfare and the battlefield
  • Shields were painted with emblems to identify Friend or Foe
  • Warriors needed to know where their leaders were - the custom of carrying a pole was adopted
  • An emblem such as a shield, animal or religious device was attached to the pole for identification
  • The emblems were also used for identity and to cover suits of armour - Coats of Arms  were born
  • These emblems were the forerunners of modern flags
  • The Romans were the first to use a cloth flag - they were square and fastened to cross bars at the end of spears - the idea of fastening a flag to the side of a pole soon followed
  • The strict rules of Heraldry are still used when designing an emblem and creating anew flag
Terminology & Etiquette in Swiss Flag display
  • Hoist - the act or function of raising the Swiss flag, as on a rope
  • Half Staff or Half Mast - the Swiss flag is hoisted to half of the potential height of the flag pole to denote grief and mourning
    • Performed by first raising the Swiss flag to the top, then lowering the Swiss Flag halfway
  • Distress - denoted by flying the Swiss flag upside-down
  • Manner of hoisting - The Swiss flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously
  • No disrespect should be shown to the Swiss flag
  • The Swiss flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit the Flag to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way
  • The Swiss flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing on the flag of any nature
  • The Swiss flag should be hoisted first and lowered last
  • International Flag relating to Swiss Flag usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace
  • We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding Swiss Flag Etiquette has provided a useful resource

National Flags of the World Map


Location: Central Europe,
east of France, north
of Italy



  • Land Size of Switzerland : 39,770 sq km
  • Climate / Weather of Switzerland : temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
  • Swiss Population : 7,450,867 (July 2004 est.)
  • Swiss Capital City: Bern
  • Swiss GDP: $239.8 billion (2003 est.)
  • Main Industries : machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments
  • Agricultural products : grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs
  • Swiss Currency : Swiss franc (CHF)
  • Main Colors of the Swiss Flag : Red
The Celts and Ancient Austrian History
  • Bronze and Iron Age - The emergence of the Celts across Europe
  • 400BC - By this time the ancient culture of the Celts had settled in many European countries including Austria, Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Western Germany, Northern Spain, Turkey and Hungary
  • The Celts were people from various tribes and were called Galli by the Romans and Galatai or Keltoi by the Greeks. These terms all had one meaning in common - barbarian
  • It is from the greek Keltoi that Celt is derived
  • Despite the name of Barbarian the Celtic society was based almost entirely on pastoralism and the raising of cattle or sheep
  • 390 BC - The Celts sacked Rome
  • 280 BC - The Celts sacked many Greek cities
  • 224 - 220 BC - Rome conquered the Celts
  • 15 BC The Romans had begun to extend their empire. Gallia (in English Gaul) is the Roman name for the region of Europe occupied by the Celts. The word Gaul commonly refers to a Celt inhabitant of that region in ancient times
  • 50-100AD - The spread of Christianity
  • 476 AD The Roman Empire collapsed
  • Middle Ages - Various different cultures emerged in the lands of the Celts and the history of each country changed accordingly
  • The above information provides a concise background to the Ancient Austrian civilisations
Concise History of Switzerland & its Flag
  • The Holy Roman Empire dates from 1157 and its territories originally included Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, eastern France, the Low Countries, and parts of Italy. The rulers of the Empire were primarily German
  • 1200s The Habsburg family gained control of much of Switzerland
  • 1499 Swiss forces defeated the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Switzerland won its complete independence from the empire
  • Early 1500s The Swiss established a policy of not taking sides in European wars
  • 1798 French Revolution and the French armies set up the
    Helvetia Republic
  • 1863 Jean Henru Dunant founded the Red Cross in Geneva
  • 1914 - 1918 World War I - Switzerland declared its neutrality
  • 1939 - 1945 World War II - Switzerland declared its neutrality

The Swiss Flag and Nation

We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding the Swiss Flag and Country has provided a useful educational resource.

To improve your knowledge of Flags and Vexillology still further check out the Flags and Nations Index and test your knowledge with our interactive, multi-choice, picture-based Flag Trivia Quiz Game - it's fast and it's fun!



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