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Danish Minority in South Schleswig (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)


Last modified: 2003-10-31 by santiago dotor
Keywords: schleswig-holstein | danish minority | south schleswig | sydslesvig | slesvig | lions: 2 (blue) | lions: 2 (passant) | banner of arms |
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[Danish Minority in South Schleswig (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] 2:3
by Jan Oskar Engene
Flag first used ca. 1949-1950

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South Schleswig (Danish Sydslesvig) is part of the Euro-Region Sønderjylland/Schleswig and is home to a Danish minority (50,000 Danes and 8,000 Frisians). Proper representation and full cultural autonomy is guaranteed by the constitutions of Schleswig-Holstein and of the Federal Republic of Germany. On most occasions the Danish population displays the Dannebrog and they do have very distinctive symbols of their own.

Chris Kretowicz, 16 May 2001

The arms of Schleswig (in Danish Slesvig), blazoned Or two Lions passant Azure, is present in the greater state arms of Denmark [see Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website] as well as in the arms of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. According to Henningsen 2000 the Danes in the German part of Schleswig have been using a Schleswig banner of arms [i.e. a yellow flag with two blue lions passant] when they have not been able to use the Danish national flag.

Sønderjylland is Danish for South Jutland, and is another name for North Schleswig, i.e. the Danish part of Schleswig [which was handed over from Germany to Denmark after the 1920 plebiscite following the First World War].

Elias Granqvist, 17 May 2001

Based on the Henningsen 2000 article —Lars N. Henningsen, Sydslesvigs hjemstavnsflag (The home region flag of South Schleswig, in Nordisk Flaggkontakt no. 32, 2001, pp. 17-22 and 33— here are some more details about this flag used among the Danish population in South Schleswig.

After World War Two representatives of the Danish minority in South Schleswig wanted permission to fly the Dannebrog, like they had used to before the war. However, in 1946 an application to the British occupation authorities was rejected. In fact, the use of any flag outdoors was banned during the first post-war years. As the ban on the use of the Dannebrog outdoors left the Danish movement without any symbols to gather around, a process started that led to the development of a new symbol based on the arms of Schleswig: two blue lions against a yellow background. In 1949-1950 this process resulted in the creation of the lion flag.

With the Bonn-Copenhagen declaration of 1955, the ban on the outdoor use of the Danish flag was lifted. However, the lion flag continued to be used and the flag is still used by the Danes in South Schleswig. In particular, the lion flag is associated with Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF) [South Schleswig Society], the main organization for the Danish minority in South Schleswig.

Jan Oskar Engene, 19 May 2001

Note that the lions in the image at this website are crowned. In the flag they are not. The crowned lions are used in the logo of the most important Danish organization in Schleswig, the Sydslesvigsk Forening, usually in blue against a white background.

Jan Oskar Engene, 31 July 2001