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Lower Saxony (Germany)

Niedersachsen, State of Lower Saxony, Land Niedersachsen

Last modified: 2006-09-23 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | lower saxony | niedersachsen | land niedersachsen | coat of arms (horse: forcene) | coat of arms (horse: white) | swallowtailed |
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[Lower Saxony (Germany)] 2:3
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted 13th April 1951

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Lower Saxony was founded as Land Niedersachsen on 1st November 1946 as a merger of the former Länder Braunschweig [Brunswick], Oldenburg, Schaumburg-Lippe and Hannover [Hanover]. Due to the long tradition of own arms and flags in these former territories, it was especially difficult to find a common flag for the new Land Niedersachsen. [Some unofficial flags existed 1946-1951]. Although a red-white (or white-red) flag with the arms would have been appropriate for the Land Niedersachsen, as these are the colours of the arms (livery colours), this solution was viewed as only representing Hanover and not the other parts of Lower Saxony. A combination of the colours of the flags of all four constituent territories (red, white, blue, yellow) was also not feasible, so the final compromise was to use the German national flag (black-red-gold) with the Lower Saxony coat-of-arms on it. Sources: Rabbow 1999; Kuhn 1991, p. 90; Schnath 1961, Reihe B Heft 6; and Schurdel 1995.

Marcus Schmöger, 22 September 2000

Civil and State Flag

Landes- und Landesdienstflagge

[Lower Saxony (Germany)] 2:3
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted 13th April 1951

The land and state flag is black on red on gold (yellow) with the arms in the middle. The state flag on sea is the same but swallow-tailed. Proportions 2:3.

Pascal Vagnat, 19 December 1995

The black-red-gold national flag with the Lower Saxon arms (a white saxon horse on a red field) with a narrow black border, overlapping the black and gold stripes and slightly offset towards hoist. Adopted 1951. Illustrated in Smith 1975 p.227 and Dorling Kindersley 1997 p. 121.

Norman Martin, March 1998

If I am reading this correctly, the version of this flag without coat-of-arms is not prescribed and is not to be used, since it would be identical to the German federal flag, thus not retaining distinctiveness.

Željko Heimer, 6 October 2000

Correct. The 1951 and 1993 Constitutions say, "in the flag the colours black-red-gold with the coat-of-arms".

Marcus Schmöger, 6 October 2000

State Ensign

Landesflagge in der Form des Doppelstanders

[State Ensign (Lower Saxony, Germany)] 2:3
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted 1951

The same [as the Landesflagge] but swallow-tailed. Adopted 1951.

Norman Martin, 1998

State ensign for use at sea and inland waters, also used as car flag for certain authorities. I followed the drawing attached to the Law and regulation, and some more detailed specifications in the regulation itself. The swallowtail of the state ensign occupies just a fifth of the flag length. (...) Regarding the black fimbriation around the coat-of-arms there is no regulation, but I reconstructed it after the drawing in the Law.

Marcus Schmöger, 22 September 2000

Construction Details

The exact pattern on some of the Lower Saxony flags is described in the laws and regulations.

  1. The coat-of-arms has a proportion of 7:6 (height to width) according to the Muster (pattern) attached to the Law on Coats-of-Arms, Flags and Seals of 13th October 1952.
  2. The Land's flag has a proportion of 2:3; the coat-of-arms has a height of 2/3rds of the flag's height [hoist]; the centre of the coat-of-arms is placed 14/30ths of the flag's length away from the hoist (according to the above mentioned pattern).
  3. The car flag for ministers and the prime minister has a black outer border of 1/16th of the flag's height and a red inner border 1/16th of the flag's height (according to the pattern attached to the Beschluß des Niedersächsischen Landesministeriums über Dienstflaggen vom 22.10.1953, Resolution of the Lower Saxony State Ministry about Service Flags of 22nd October 1953).
  4. Of the other flags (car flag for the President of the State Parliament etc.) there are just the patterns shown, but no information on actual size and position of elements.

Marcus Schmöger, 6 October 2000


Note that opposed to the horse of Westphalia which is rearing (or forcene, German steigend), the horse of Lower Saxony is jumping (German springend), like the one of Brunswick [and Hanover]. They are however of the same descent, just like the horse of the English County of Kent (arms adopted 1933, also used on flag?), and the one used on the unofficial flag of Twente, a region in the east of the Dutch province of Overijssel. The latter two are leaping, and just like all the others white on a red field. Source: Het Saksische ros in de heraldiek (The Saxon Horse in Heraldry), G.W. Nanninga in Driemaandelijkse bladen voor taal en volksleven in het oosten van Nederland, 1969 no. 2 (one of the sources mentioned that might be interesting: Geirg Schnath, Das Sachsenros, Hannover, 1961).

Mark Sensen, 21 May 1999