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Republika Hrvatska, Republic of Croatia

Last modified: 2006-01-21 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | hrvatska | balkans | europe | checquy | star | ribbon |
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image by Carlos Esparza, 21 January 2001

Official Name: Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska)
Capital: Zagreb
Location: Southeastern Europe
Government Type: Presidential/Parliamentary Democracy
Flag adopted: 21 December 1990
Coat of Arms adopted: 21 December 1990
ISO Code: HR

Other Croatian pages in FOTW:

See also:

Other Sites:

An Overview of the Croatian Flags

Basically, the situation about croatian flags is like this:

The civil, state and war flag is the well known red-white-blue flag with coat of arms in the middle, proportions 1:2. (on the top of the page)
The civil and state ensign is the same, but 2:3 in proportions.
The naval ensign is blue bordered white and red with stylized coat of arms and crossed anchors (the exact use of this one is unclear to me, might be jack or even an admiral's flag - see Admiral flag)
The jack is the same as the civil ensign.
The president's flag is square, blue, bordered red and white, with the president's Coat-of-Arms (much stylized arms of Croatia with letters RH above).
The police is using an ensign that is rectangular, blue bordered with white ornament, with state coat of arms over two white crossed anchors.
The police pennant on inland vessels (River Police) is triangular, white with voided blue lozenge that has black numerals in it.
The war minister, chief of staff etc. don't have (yet?) flags.

Željko Heimer, 9 March 1997

I was asked several times for the Pantone references of the colorus used in the Croatian flag (and similar), and in the process I noticed a useful page in this regard at <>. The figures (red 032, blue 286) are slightly different from those given in the Album, but not significantly, as far as I have noticed. The two sources use slightly different shades for their "basic heraldic" colours - which is utterly insignificant.
The Album colours are, I blieve, provided more or less in full on the Mello Luchtenberg's Vexilla Mundi site.
Željko Heimer, 22 July 2004

Use of the Flag

The Croatian flag carried in front of the team at Sydney 2000 Olympic games ceremony, was not quite as it should be - the coat of arms was moved a bit too much down, the space between the crest and shield was white (should be "transparent", and therefore red). The shield should be positioned so that four rows of squares come into white stripe, and only the fifth enters the blue field. The shield should not enter the red field at all, only the crest, that should be fimbriated with white and red (as well as the shield, in fact). However, this error is very common among foreign flag manufacturers.
The flag was very clearly visible in one moment when the director of the coverage choosed to show what's being done white the flags when the athletes reach their final point - they were gathered on the stage, and the moment of setting of the Croatian flag was shown.
Željko Heimer, 15 September 2000

Today Croatia is celebrating 10 years since the EU recognized Croatian independence. Few states recognized Croatia even before that date e.g. (Vatican, Ukraine, Iceland), others followed soon (e.g. USA recognition came in April 1992), however, 15 January 1992 is the day generally accepted as the date of the international recognition of Croatia.
In May 1992 Croatia was admited to United Nations. As I was reminded in a documentary I just saw on TV, the Croatian flag was first hoisted ceremoniously infront of the UN HQ in New York on 22 May 1992. (At the same time B&H white flags w/lilies was also hoisted for the first time there.)
Željko Heimer, 15 January 2002

Vertical Hoisting of the Flag

I cannot make certain the ratio of this flag/banner, but I will guess it is 1:6.  The photo is at <>.
Zachary Harden, 1 January 2005

The photo showes the main square in the city of Osijek. The longish flags that I also estimate to 1:6 are not unusual in such places. Such flags are to be seen on the main square in Zagreb (nowdays together with similarly shaped flags of EU and Zagreb) and I am sure that they are present in many other cities around the country.  
Showing of those long flags is custom of the Central Europe (an "Austrian" custom, if you wish), and while in Austria and southern Germany the tradition is longer preserved and they include either the flags without the coats of arms (i.e. Landesfarben only) or with the coat of arms properly rotated. The tradition in Slovenia and Croatia is taken up after some years of breaking, and there it is felt that the flags withotu the coat of arms are not appropriate (unrecognizable), so the coat of arms are retained and not even rotated, but could be "read" along the vertical axis.
Željko Heimer, 1 January 2005

Table Flag

image by Željko Heimer and Zachary Harden, 27 November 2005

This a drawing of the Croat table flag that Željko kindly sent me. One thing I motice is that no matter if I flip the flag, it will still have the red facing towards the honor point.  The flag was made with two cardboard like flags stiched together.  One flag has the red facing the honor point, but if you flip it over vertically, you will see the Croatia flag like it was rotated at a 90 degree angle.
Zachary Harden, 24 January 2005

Use of the Flag with the Red Star

After five years, I saw the flag with the red star on the news on the national TV. It was displayed on a celebration of some partisan (anti-fascist) unit in Istria. Beside this flag there was also the Italian flag with a red star (see: Flag of Italian Minority in Yugoslavia). It is the first time since the declaration of independence that this flag is displayed publicly. (Maybe to mention, government officials and high army commanders were there, so it wasn't any kind of "rebellions" or demonstrations against the current government).

I have nothing against it, moreover, I think it is (one of the) historical Croatian flags, and should be respected as any other historical flag. Many fine Croatians fought under it, for the freedom of their homeland.
Željko Heimer, 13 November 1995

Use of Short Flag and Rotated Coat of Arms

I have seen rarely that the coat of arms is rotated for 90 degrees, when the flag is hanging vertically, but this is not usual.
If there is need of a "short" flag, there is a tendency to "shorten" the horizontal flag so that instead of being 1:2, it becomes e.g. 5:3, as it was on the parade on 30 May 1995 (Statehood Day).
Željko Heimer, 16 September 1995

See also: Croatia - Other Proposals and Unofficial Variations

Croatia Changes Its Flag ?

Not really, but possibly in some time... Recently a discussion in newspapers were (re)introduced about the need of the flag change. Now the discussion was induced by an article in "Vecernji list" (Zagreb newspapers) transmiting opinion of one of the presidential candidates (after the elections) dr. Slaven Letica. He questioned constitutionality of the current coat of arms (therefore the flag, too) regarding the "zoo" (the crest) above the shield. He was answered by several historians and law experts, claiming that he is wrong in that assumption, and that there is no question of constitutionality, but however, the Pandorra box is opened... A designer came forward with his ideas on a new flag, and with argumentation going further from the constitutionality question. So, maybe it is best that I left the articles to speak for themselves. One can see them in two numbers of mentioned newspapers (in PDF format, with images), but they are rather large (500K and 2,5M) in Croatian at: <> and <>. There is also a good vectorial image of Croatian Coat of Arms, see: <>.

Here is translation from Vecernji list, 25 January 2000., [my notes in brackets]:

Is the Crown on the Croatian Coat of Arms unconstitutional?

The Constitution regulates only the basics of the Croatian coat of arms: 25 red and white fields "The coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia is the historic Croatian Coat of Arms that is basically 25 interchangeably red and white (silver) fields. The description of the historic Croatian Coat of Arms and its use and protection is determined by law." That are two lines from article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia on the Croatia Coat of Arms, while the detailed layout of the Coat of Arms is regulated by the Law on the Coat of Arms the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Croatia and the flag and the sashe of the President of the Republic of Croatia. According to the Law, a crown is added to the Coat of Arms basics, that features the oldest known Croatian Coat of Arms and Coat of Arms of the Republic of Dubrovnik [Ragusa], Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia. Does the Law steps over the constitutional limits? According to opinion of dr. Slaven Letica, former councillior to dr. Tudjman, that he repeated these days, the crown of the five Coat of Arms is added to the Croatian red- white chequy shield unconstitutionally. As he claims, Letica has warned the late President that it is beyond the Constitution, but dr. Tudjman then replied that it was already decided about the layout of the Croatian Coat of Arms. Was there need to change the Constitution because of the layout of the Coat of Arms, for what 2/3 mayority is needed in parliament? In the time when the Law on Coat of Arms was being adopted, in 1990, Croatia had more pressing issues, so that the discussions that rised from time to time, were left on side. Even if today there are again more pressing matters, the question of the Coat of Arms might intrigue the public again. Should the Croatian Coat of Arms be changed and why is the question with many answers. Many prefer only the chequy shield, others would say that the five Coat of Arms in the crown does not represent the entire Croatia, and maybe there fund reason for constitutionality discussion. The third would discuss if the chequy shield should begin with white or red field (now it begins with red), another thing not regulated by the Constitution. Some would be bothered that there is a crown above the shield, a symbol of royalty, while others would not like that the five Coat of Arms refer to Croatian regions. However, the constitution experts that we consulted could not say if the five Coat of Arms crown above the shield was really unconstitutionally added. That is, the Constitution prescribes that the Coat of Arms hav "basics of 25 fields", that would mean something can be added to the basics, but how much could be added not to change the general layout, is the question without simple answer. Together with the announced Constitutional changes, maybe the question of the Coat of Arms shall be dealt with again in the Parliament, even if there are ideas that the citizens should decide on their Coat of Arms on a referendum, that is if a referendum would not be to expensive for us. According an other opinion, the crown is not added unconstitutionally, sinc ethe Constitution prescribe ofly the basics of 25 red-white fields, and the current five Coat of Arms crown can be changed by law.
S. Perica

Dr. Petar Strcic: Chequy fields can not be argued

Dr. Petar Strcic, the director of the Croatian arts and sciences academy archive, talked about Coat of Arms and flags for our newspapers several years ago. On the origin of the chequy fields he said that they are firs noted in use by Apennine bishop, but how they found their home in Croatia it is not known. - The cheap-political accusations that the current state Coat of Arms is taken from Ustasha Independent State of Croatia [WWII axis state, in territory of current Croatia and B&H] are really funny. highlighted then dr. Strcic. The oldest known Croatian Coat of Arms is the crescent with six-pointed star, set in first field of the crown of the Croatian official Coat of Arms. Dr. Strcic said that the chequy fields as base of the state Coat of Arms are not and can not be argued about, but the same can not be said about all other elements of the Coat of Arms. - The Coat of Arms of Dubrovnik set in the crown is, in fact, a fraud version, but the biggest problem is with the Coat of Arms with goat charge, that should represent Istria - said dr. Strcic, pointing out that the Coat of Arms with a goat was among Istrian Croats considered expressive symbol of romanization and italianization. It is in use only from 19th century, and was prometed only by small Italian and pro-Italian circle. - You can imagine what would be reaction to the goat in the Croatian Coat of Arms of the Istrain reformators, bishop Dobrila, Spincic or Laginja? asked dr. Strcic.
Željko Heimer, 30 January 2000

See also: History of the National Flag