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Nordfriesland County (Germany)

Kreis Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Holstein

Last modified: 2006-08-19 by jarig bakker
Keywords: nordfriesland | sagelterland |
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[Nordfriesland County (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] image by Stefan Schwoon
adopted 10th July 1972

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There is an official coat of arms for the Landeskreis of North Friesland, created in 1970. This is blue, three golden, three-masted ships in 16th-century style [arranged] 2:1 with golden sails and red pennants. The flag has a broad central stripe with the arms as described, and with narrower stripes at the top and bottom, the inner ones golden, the outer ones red. Source: Thomas Steensen, The Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein, Braeist/Bredstedt: Nordfriisk Instituut, 1994.
Jan Oskar Engene, 7 December 1995

The Hauptsatzung (statutes) of the district at the Nordfriesland official website states that the red and gold stripes should be thin, so the choice of 1:1:12:1:1 is mine. The ships should be shifted slightly to the hoist. The ships are taken from the arms; more on their meaning at Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website, where I copied them from (Reissmann 1997). Adopted 10 Jul 1972, according to Dirk Schönberger's Administrative Divisions of the World website.

Note that this flag does not collide with the North Frisian flags below. The latter have no official status and are popularly used to show adherence to (the historical region of) North Friesland whereas this is the official flag of the district authorities.
Stefan Schwoon, 1 February 2001

From Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website:
"The arms were granted on July 10, 1972. The arms are based on the arms of the former county Eiderstedt. The symbols of the ships differ from the old arms, in that the plough is the symbol of the former county Husum, the fish is slightly changed and represents the typical herring of the island of Sylt in the former county Südtondern. The ox-head is still the symbol for Eiderstedt. The arms [of Eiderstedt] were based on a seal dating from 1613, after the area was reclaimed from the sea. The ships represented the three areas (Harden) in the new territory: Eiderstedt, Everschop and Utholm. (...) On the original seal the ships were placed 1:2 instead of 2:1 and the symbols were placed on the hulk of the ship, not the sails.
Literature: Stadler 1964-1971 and Reissmann 1997.
Santiago Dotor, 23 October 2001

Civil Flag

[Civil Flag (North Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] image by Jorge Candeias

The flag shown here with the coat of arms is sometimes shown with a smaller shield above a white scroll on which is written Lever düd as Slav. Source: Walther Stephan, Das Wappen der Landschaft Nordfriesland, in Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, 16er Band, Neumünster in Holstein, 1931. According to this source, the North Frisian flag originated at the same time as the flag Schleswig-Holstein, also during feasts, and with the coat of arms and the motto in the middle.
Pascal Vagnat, 17 May 1999

Lever düd as Slav means 'Rather dead than slave'. It is another rendering of the motto Leaver dea as slaef, which can still be found on a monument on the Rode Klif (Gaasterland, Fryslân, Netherlands), remembering the victory of the Frisians over the Hollanders in 1345.
Jarig Bakker, 18 May 1999

I have a flag, yellow-red-blue, with arms, which is used as the flag of the island of Sylt. In FOTW it is shown as the civil flag of North Friesland County. I suspect that the island of Sylt and North Friesland County are one and the same.  This may well explain why the inhabitants of the island fly this as and call it the flag of Sylt.
Robert Jungst, 10 Sep 2002

"Nordfriesland: The most northern county of Germany was created in 1970  by the union of the former counties Eiderstedt, Husum and Südtondern. It is on the oast of the North Sea and includes the Penninsuela Eiderstedt and the north Frisean Islands (incl. Sylt) and the Halligen. Area: 2043; inhabitants: 162.000; capital: Husum".
Source: "Diercke Lexikon Deutschland", 1988.
The CoA of the county shows three yellow sailing ships (Koggen?), each with another red symbol at its main sail. A plough, a fish and a Oxen's head. Background is light blue.
J. Patrick Fischer, 11 Sep 2002

Civil Flag Variant without Coat-of-Arms

[Civil Flag Variant without Coat-of-Arms (North Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] image by Jan Oskar Engene, 6 December 1995

Some time ago I got a different flag from the North Frisian Institute in Braeist (Bredstedt). It is a simple yellow-red-blue flag, the gölj-rüüdj-ween as it is called in the North Frisian language (also the title of the unofficial gold, red and blue) have been the North Frisian colours since the beginning of this century. The colours are taken from the fields of the coat of arms. Source: Thomas Steensen, The Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein, Braeist/Bredstedt: Nordfriisk Instituut, 1994.
Jan Oskar Engene, 6 December 1995

Scandinavian Cross Variant

[North Frisia (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), Scandinavian cross variant] image by Jan Oskar Engene, 6 Dec 1995

Kannik 1958a shows a Frisian (Germany) flag which has a blue Scandinavian cross, fimbriated red, on a yellow field. Horizontal proportions 6+1+2+1+12.
Pascal Vagnat, 6 Dec 1995

I noticed the same in Kannik 1956a. In the notes it is explained that the Scandinavian cross pattern was chosen to symbolise the relationship of the Frisians to the Nordic countries (whatever that may have been — except for the fact that the North Frisians once were ruled by Denmark).
Jan Oskar Engene, 6 Dec 1995

In the Flags of Aspirant Peoples chart appears "75. North Frisians (Helgoland & Schleswig-Holstein) - North Germany". Identical to the Scandinavian cross variant in FOTW.
Ivan Sache, 14 Sep 1999


[Sagelterland (North Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)] image by Jaume Ollé

Five diagonally striped flag yellow-red-white-red-yellow, with 3 heart-shaped leaves. This flag design is clearly inspired by the traditional flag of the Dutch province of Fryslân. Note that Sagelterland is traditionally Frisian. In use since 1970. Also Saterland (Frisian: Sealterlân), near the Dutch border in Lower Saxony.
Norman Martin, Mar1998