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Slovenija - Republic of Slovenia, Republika Slovenija

Last modified: 2009-11-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: slovenia | europe | triglav | mountain (white) | star: 6 points (yellow) | stars: 3 (yellow) | coat of arms: slovenia | register of public symbols | celje | carniola | kranjska |
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[Flag of Slovenia]

National flag of Slovenia - Image by Željko Heimer, 17 September 2002

Flag adopted 27 June 1991, coat of arms adopted 20 July 1994.
Proportion: 1:2
Description: Horizontally divided white-blue-red flag with the national coat ot arms in the upper left corner.
Use: on land, as the civil, state and war flag; at sea, as the war ensign.

Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):

  • Blue: Pantone 293 c / CMYK 100-65-0 -0
  • Red: Pantone 199 c / CMYK 0-100-65-0
  • Yellow: Pantone 116c / CMYK 0-10-95-0

On this page:

See also:

Other link of interest:

Adoption and use of the Slovene flag

On 25 June 1991 Slovenia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia and the flag was hoisted officially and for the first time on the Republic Square in front of the Slovenian Parliament in Ljubljana. At the same time the flag of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, bearing the red star, was lowered. Since there was not enough new flags, a lot of plain Slovene tricolour flags (without the coat of arms) were hoisted together with the new flag. The flag was officially adopted on 20 0ctober 1994 by the Law on the National Symbols.

Uroš Žižmund & Željko Heimer, 17 September 2002

The Slovene flag that can be bought in shops is officially in proportions 1:2. De facto, many flags are used in proportions 2:5 to match the municipal flags when they are hoisted together. There are also flags, intended for vertical hoisting, in proportions 4:1, especially popular for hoisting at border crossings or in front of official buildings.

Valt Jurečič & Željko Heimer, 26 January 2002

On the vertical flags, the coat of arms shall not be rotated vertically. Such a rotation was erroneously reported by Znamierowski [zna99]; this an evident confusion in flag use in Slovenia and Slovakia, the latter having the special vertical (rotated) version of the flag prescribed by the Law.
However, Slovene flags with the coat of arms uncorrectly rotated are sometimes used, as shown for instance by the newspaper Dobro Jutro (picture taken in Kranj, 4 July 2005).

Jan Zrzavy & Eugene Ipavec, 6 November 2005

History of the Slovene flag

[Plain flag of Slovenia]

Historical Slovene flag - Image by Željko Heimer, 17 September 2002

The historical Slovene colours are the same as the Russian historical colours. However, contrary to the flags of Serbia and Bulgaria, the Slovene flag is not derived from the flag of Russia. This erroneous interpretation has been, unfortunately, spread by several authors, including Znamierowski [zna00c].

Ivan Sache, 24 January 2007

Modern Slovenia is constituted of the entire historic province of Kranjska (Carniola), a part of Stajerska (Styria), a tiny part of Koroška (Carinthia), a part of Istria and some other parts.
The origins of the coat of arms of Carniola goes back to noble family of Counts of Andechs (they were the rulers over major part of Carniola in early 13th century). Their original coat of arms was a red eagle on silver. And that coat of arms became the coat of arms of the town of Kranj (Krainburg at that time), which was their main castle in Carniola. The red eagle was also adopted by Tirol because of the same family.
The same coat of arms was then adopted by Carniola, but the colour of the eagle changed in mid 14th century. In 1364, the eagle was blue on a silver field, with a silver-red chequered chest crescent. Around 1369, for sure in 1380, the field was changed to gold. In 1463 the Habsburg Emperor Frederic III changed the coat of arms to a blue crowned eagle on gold with a gold-red chequered chest crescent. That lasted until 1836, when Emperor Ferdinand I changed the coat of arms back to old colours (blue crowned eagle on silver with gold-red chequered chest crescent), because of the administration changes in the Austrian Empire.
So those were the colours which were transfered into the colours of the Carniolan (Slovenian) flag in 1848.

The tricolor flag was used:

  • in 1848-1918, to represent the Slovene nation, but it was hardly ever recognized by the Austrian rulers. In the same time it was the landesfarben of Carniola, not a flag in the modern sense;
  • in 1918, adopted by the Slovene nation that joined the State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918-1929) but the State was too short of duration to have the flag officialized. Soon after the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia), the flag was banned, or at least at times rarely tolerated;
  • in 1941-1945, used by Slovene nationalists formations on Axis side, usually defaced with the coat of arms of Carniola. On the other side, the Slovene partisans used a flag defaced with a red five-pointed star or with OF emblem (zig-zag triple mountain line flanked with the letters OF)
  • 1945-1990, always charged with the five-pointed star.

A flag with these three plain horizontal stripes was also the official flag of Slovenia (also Dravska banovina in the pre-Second World War Yugoslav Kingdom) up to 1945. In fact, it was used also by emigrants abroad after this time.

Aleks Hribovšek, Andrej Brodnik, Zoran Obradović & Željko Heimer, 24 June 2009

Slovene flag day

In Wolfova Street, just some 200 m from the main square of Ljubljana, a commemorative plaque says something like this: "The first Slovene tricolour was hoisted in this house in the revolutionary year of 1848".
Unfortunately, the exact date of this historical event is not given. A local tourist guide explained that there was a pub in the house at the time (as well as in all other houses of the street), and that it took several beers before the group of insurgents gathered guts to hoist the flag. The hoisted flag was, of course, the white-blue-red tricolour flag. The Austrian police reacted immediatly and there was some blood shed; some dozen of insurgents ended in jail.

Joče Lajevec, the current chairman of the Slovene vexillological association Heraldica Slovenica explains that the Heraldical Genealogical and Vexillological Association Heraldica Slovenica (as the full name of the association is) has been celebrating the Slovene flag day every year in the last ten years. The celebration is held in the geometrical center of Slovenia, a point known as GEOSS located in Spodnja Slivna pri Vačah, municipality of Litija. The Slovene flag day is held every year on 7th April, in remembrance to the 7 April 1848, when the first Slovene tricolour flag was hoisted publicly in Ljubljana.
In 2001, the celebration was particularly solemn since the 10th anniversary of the state flag was celebrated. The celebration included a religious service by the Slovene Metropolit and Archbishop of Ljubljana Rode Franc; in the civil part of the celebration, the Speaker of the Parliament Borut Pahor was present, among other high dignitaries.

Željko Heimer, 3 September 2002

Coat of arms of Slovenia

[Coat of arms of Slovenia]

Coat of arms of Slovenia - Image by Željko Heimer, 17 September 2002

The coat of arms of Slovenia was designed by Marko Pogačnik. Its main elements are the three-peaked Triglav mountain and three yellow stars.

The Triglav mountain

In year 1943 the Liberation Front (Osvobodilna fronta) was already issuing money, with various designs all picturing a triple peak, a five-pointed star, the letters "OF" and the rising sun.
On money issued in 1944, there was a coat of arms in Socialist style, a round shield with short rays with a triple peak and three wavy lines. The wavy lines represent the sea whereas the mountain represents inland Slovenia. On top of the shield is a five-pointed star. This was the base for the subsequent design of the coat of arms of the People's (later Socialist) Republic of Slovenia in Yugoslavia, with corn, linden and a band added around the round shield. When liberation movements became stronger in the late 1980s, they also took the sign of triple peak and lines, in various designs, and it is not surprising that the newly formed state has it now in the arms.
It is worth mentioning that a golden leaf of linden was widely used also as a badge by supporters of liberation ideas. However, the linden was not included in the new arms.

The three stars

The other distinctive element of the arms is the three stars. They are derived from the coat of arms of the old Slovene family of Counts of Celje. Their coat of arms was blue with three golden, six-pointed stars placed 2 and 1, and is still used as a coat of arms by the town of Celje. The family of Celje was a main competitor of the Hapsburgs before the Empire was formed, until the violent death of the last Count of Celje. When the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and later Yugoslavia, was formed, the coat of arms adopted by the state consisted of a shield tierced, with the arms of Serbia, Croatia, and a third one representing Slovenia. This third was "Azure, a crescent argent below three stars or per fess". This must be connected with the "Illyrian" (Old Croatian - see on Croatian arms first right) coat of arms, "Azure, a crescent argent below the stars or", and the arms of Celje.

The crescent was also used in the arms of Provinz Laibach - Province of Ljubljana, formed of parts of Slovenia annexed by the Third Reich. The coat of arms was a crowned eagle bearing a checkered crescent.

Željko Heimer, 7 November 1995

After the First World War, Slovenia, indeed most Slovene lands (but not all), became part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (Drzava SHS), later Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia (Kraljevina SHS/Jugoslavija). For the first time the Slovene territory was partly united under one name, one authority and one coat of arms. Many Slovenes, however, were not pleased with the coat of arms that had been created by Belgrade politicians, a blue shield with a white five-pointed star above a white crescent. This coat of arms was in use from 1919 to 1929, until the white five-pointed star was replaced with three yellow six-pointed stars, which are derived from the coat of arms of the town of Celje. The position of stars was 2 and 1 or 1 and 2. At that time Slovenia also became the Banate of Drava (Dravska Banovina). The modified coat of arms was in use from 1929 to 1941.

Uroš Žižmund, 13 July 1997

Register of public symbols

The Register of Public Symbols, Coats of Arms, Flags and Seals was established in 2006 within the Slovene National Archives. Eventually, the Register should have all relevant data published online.
Currently, the Register's website contains the "minimal requirements" for the inclusion of symbols in the Register. This shall serve, as far as I understand, as a kind of approval procedure for the municipal symbols, although this procedure is still being developed.

The Register's website also give the bylaws of the established comission, which has nine members - a representative of the Archives and its deputy, a representative of the Government Service for local self-government, a representative of the Ministry of Public Administration and appointed experts in the fields of heraldry, vexillology, sigillography, history and design.
The commission has task to check the symbols for their compliance with the heraldic, vexillologic and sigillographic norms and historic appropriateness, to propose the inclusion of the symbols into the Register and to assist the Ministry regarding complaints to their decisions.

Finally, the Register's website includes a large amount of material on the basics of heraldry and vexillology of Slovenia - a kind of overview and guidelines - prepared by Valt Jurečič.

Željko Heimer, 11 January 2009