República Federal de Alemania
The symbols of the German state include the federal flag and the national colours – black, red and gold. The only symbol of the German state anchored in the Basic Law (Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the federal flag (article 22).
Details concerning the design and display of the federal flag are regulated in the Directive concerning the German flags. The uniform rules for flag displays at official federal buildings are laid down in the Federal Flag Code as amended on 22 March 2005. Private individuals are not permitted to display the federal institutions flag (Section 124 of the Regulatory Offences Act); anyone, however, may fly the federal flag.
Section I of the Directive concerning the German flags of 13 November 1996:
- The federal flag consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width, black at the top, red in the middle, gold-colored at the bottom, the ratio of the height to the length of the flag is 3 to 5. The federal flag can also be flown in the form of a banner. The banner consists of three vertical stripes of equal width, black on the left, red in the middle and gold on the right.
- The standard of the Federal President is an equilateral, red-bordered, gold-colored rectangle containing the federal eagle, hovering, facing the pole, the ratio of the width of the red border to the height of the standard is 1 to 12.
- The service flag of the federal authorities (federal service flag) has the same horizontal stripes as the federal flag, then, slightly shifted towards the pole, in the black and the gold-colored stripes each overlapping by up to a fifth, the federal shield, the eagle turned towards the pole, ratio of the Height to the length of the flag as 3 to 5. If the federal service flag is used in banner form, the federal shield, the eagle turned towards the black stripe, is aligned parallel to the longitudinal stripes, slightly shifted towards the pole, in the black and the gold-colored part each up to a fifth.
For further information, please see «Directive concerning the German flags», located in the Legislación section of this page.
The heraldic animal of the Federal Republic of Germany is the eagle. After World War II, in conscious acknowledgement of the democratic legacy of the Weimar Republic, the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany incorporated the Weimar eagle into its coat of arms. It was designed by Tobias Schwab in 1926. Federal President Theodor Heuss officially reintroduced it in his «Announcement Concerning the Federal Coat of Arms and the Federal Eagle of 20 January 1950» describing the federal coat of arms and the federal eagle.
Sixty-nine years after the colour version of the federal coat of arms was first officially introduced by the Federal Minister of the Interior on 4 July 1952, a new version has now been officially issued. The colour design of the federal coat of arms is now based on a colour template which was approved by the Federal Government at its meeting on 19 May 2021. The digital imaging of the state symbols has resulted in minor design changes, compared to the original template which dates from 1952. In addition, some graphic flaws have been corrected and the design of the federal eagle in the federal coat of arms is now the same as on official signs.
The authentic new template for the design of the federal coat of arms was published in the Official Section of the Federal Gazette (Federal Gazette – Official Section 17 June 2021 B3). The relevant amending decree of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community was issued on 8 June 2021. (The Announcement is available here)
The Deutschlandlied, the German national anthem, dates back to the liberal national movement of the 19th century. The words stem from the pen of August Heinrich Hoffmann (who added “von Fallersleben” to his name), a patriotic liberal poet and literary scholar who lost his professorship in Prussia in 1842 because of his works.
After World War II, the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany had difficulty deciding on a national anthem. Although it specifically refers to the federal flag, the Basic Law does not make any provision for a national anthem; no arrangement was made until 1952, when Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer asked the Federal President, in a letter of 29 April, to recognize «the Hoffmann-Haydn song as the national anthem. At state functions the third verse should be sung.” In his letter of 2 May, President Theodor Heuss gave his consent, after his earlier attempt to find a new anthem had been unsuccessful.
Letra y música
Since 1952, the third verse of a work by Heinrich Hoffmann and Joseph Haydn has been played and sung on official occasions as the Federal Republic’s national anthem.
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
sind des Glückes Unterpfand:
| : Blüh im Glanze dieses Glückes,
blühe, deutsches Vaterland! : |
A version of the German National Anthem can be listened here, as shown in the cultural portal deutschland.de.
Order of Precedence
The Federal Republic of Germany has no official list that definitively establishes the order of precedence in the area of domestic affairs.
Adherence to rigid precedence lists would not accommodate the wide variety of state functions. There are also other major nations that have no official precedence lists.
Over the years, however, the following official practice has emerged concerning the order of precedence among the representatives of the federal constitutional bodies:
- Federal President
- President of the German Bundestag
- Federal Chancellor
- President of the Bundesrat
- President of the Federal Constitutional Court
At state functions, the guests of honour from the government, the political sphere and society are seated according to protocol. It is important
- to seek a balance among the representatives of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and the political parties represented in the German Bundestag (horizontal balance);
- an appropriate balance among the representatives of the federal, state and local governments (vertical balance)
But proper seating order also means paying attention to the overall context of the given function. For example, it is necessary to consider the following: Who is the host? On whose “territory” (state, district, city, municipality, etc.) is the event taking place, what is the occasion and where is it being held? Seating must always consider the circumstances of the specific occasion. The order of precedence should be observed as a matter of principle, but it is not the only criterion. Other considerations include language skills (in the case of foreign guests), any existing personal acquaintances and any interests or preferences of the guests. Flexibility, a sense of proportion and tact are called for – not rigid adherence to rules.
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in the revised version published in the Federal Law Gazette Part III, classification number 100-1, as last amended by the Act of 28 June 2022 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 968). Disponible aquí.
Anordnung über die deutschen Flaggen (Directive concerning the German flags). It concerns the federal flag , the standard of the Federal President and the official flag of the federal authorities. Disponible aquí.
Erlaß über die Amtsschilder der Bundesbehörden. (Decree on the official signs of the federal authorities). Amended by the latter Announcement. Disponible aquí.
Bekanntmachung über die farbige Darstellung des Bundeswappens (Announcement on the colored representation of the federal coat of arms). Dated 8 June 2021, is the amendment of the former Decree. Disponible aquí.
ENLACES DE INTERÉS
- The Germany portal «deutschland.de» is a service provided by Fazit Communication GmbH, Frankfurt-am-Main, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. (https://www.deutschland.de/en)