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Bonn Federal City (Germany)

Bundesstadt Bonn, former German Federal Capital, Northrhine-Westphalia

Last modified: 2017-06-07 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: bonn | bad godesberg | muffendorf | friesdorf | lannesdorf | beuel | hardtberg | lengsdorf | cross(black) | triplemount | lion(passant) | castle | cross(patty) | bend-sinister(wavy) | ferry | gridiron | saltire |
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[Bonn Federal City (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)] 3:5  image by Stefan Schwoon, 5 Apr 2001
adopted 1971

See also:

Introduction to Bonn Federal City

The Bonn City flag is described as yellow, with thin red stripes at the top and bottom edges, with the arms in the centre.
Sources: Staack 1997 and the FlagDataBank website.
Stefan Schwoon, 22 Feb 2001

I found the city statutes (Hauptsatzung), version 1 July 1996. These statutes say that the flag is yellow-red; the wide yellow centre stripe is accompanied by two narrow red stripes. In the centre are the Bonn Arms. It is described as: argent a cross sable, a base gules a lion passant guardant or. The statutes simply say that the red stripes are thin (schmal), so no particular proportion is specified and the 1:6:1 used in the above image is only one possible interpretation of that.
According to the city website, Bonn received city rights probably in the early 13th century. The oldest seal, known since 1250, shows the patron saint, St. Cassius, depicted as a knight. The next seal, dating from the 14th Century, shows the cross of Köln and the lion. The area was part of the Archbishopric of Köln. The lion is a symbol for the old Dingstuhl or justice-place. The lion is often named Wölfchen (= little wolf) or Leopard and is sometimes shown standing on a boar. On the ante-seals of the city only the lion is shown.
The colours have changed through the years, first the lion was red and the field was either silver or gold, changed to blue from 1732 until 1971 and finally in 1971 the present colours were granted. The lion also changed from looking to the right to looking to the viewer in 1971.

Sources:
1) Stadler 1972, p.27
2) Nagel 1986.
3) Ralf Hartemink's webpage.
Stefan Schwoon, 5 Apr 2001

Historical Notes:
Bonn celebrated its bimillennium in 1989 and is one of the oldest cities in Germany. In the context of his campaign in Germania Magna Roman commander (Nero Claudius) Drusus, a stepson of Emperor Augustus, erected the camp Bonna on the western bank of the Rhine between 16 BC and 12 BC. After the defeat of (Publius Quintilius) Varus and the loss of three complete legions in 9 AD the settlement became the base of a legion (~= 6000 soldiers) and the settlement developed.
Bonn declined together with the Roman Empire. Under Franconian rule in the 10th century Bonn became some kind of a market town. It boosted after the defeat of the Archbishopric of Köln and its allies against the Duke of Brabant and his allies in the battle of Worringen (1288). As a result the Dukes of Brabant gained control over Limburg, and the position of the archbishops was weakened, while the Dukes of Berg and of Mark arose.
The battle also caused the rise of Düsseldorf as new capital of the Dukes of Berg and Bonn as domicile and later residence of the Archbishops of Köln, who made Bonn a pearl of baroque. This ended in 1794, when French troops occupied Bonn. After the defeat of Napoleon I the city became part of Prussia. It ascended after WW2, when it became the capital of (Western-) Germany. From 1999 to 2000 the government moved to Berlin, which became the new capital, and Bonn was made a Federal City (= Bundesstadt). Bonn kept however federal authorities, became seat of international organisations and head offices of big German companies.
Before on 1 August 1969 the city was enlarged by merger of Bonn with the cities Bad Godesberg and Beuel, and the former subcounty (= Amt) Duisdorf.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, pp.22-30
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

In 1969 the independent cities of Bad Godesberg and Beuel as well as several villages were incorporated into the Landkreis Bonn (1816-1969), resulting in a city more than twice as large as before. Bad Godesberg and Beuel became districts (Stadtbezirke) of Bonn with some independence and populations of about 70,000 each. On 1 August 1969 by the Bonn Law the cities of Bad Godesberg and Beuel, as well as the municipalities of Buschdorf, Duisdorf, Ippendorf, Lengsdorf, Lessenich and Röttgen were incorporated, the Duisdorf Subcounty ceased to exist to become part of the new Bonn. Furthermore the following municipalities from other counties were incorporated into Bonn: Oberkassel, Holzlar and (Stieldorf-)Hoholz. Hence the change of flag and arms from 1971 onwards.
Sources: here, here and here within German WIKIPEDIA
Esteban Rivera, 20 Dec 2016


Bonn City Flags

Current Flag

The Bonn City flag is described as yellow, with thin red stripes at the top and bottom edges, with the arms in the centre.
Sources: Staack 1997 and the FlagDataBank website.
Stefan Schwoon, 22 Feb 2001

It is a red over yellow over red horizontal triband with ratio of stripes approx. 1:6:1. The arms are centred within the yellow stripe.
Source: this online catalogue and §4(3) of Hauptsatzung of the City of Bonn, version 1 July 1996
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Current Coat of Arms

[Bonn CoA (since 1971)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2017

Shield Gules, a lion passant guardant Or, chief Argent charged with a throughout cross Sable.
Meaning:
The new symbols were introduced on occasion of the 1969 mergers. Red and yellow before had been the colours of Bad Godesberg city and its flag. The coat of arms was similar to the version of 1938 (see below). The shape of the shield got the usual form of German municipal shields, a shield round in base (also called a Spanish shield, German: Halbrundschild). The lion was that one of the 1938 version. His background colour was changed from blue to red in order to fit the flag colours. The cross was simplified o plain black by removing the gyrons. Due to the new tinctures also the colours of the flag changed. The design of the lion is based on a sculpture on nowadays Münsterplatz, under the rule of the archbishops denoted as "The Leopard's Court", displaying a lion, holding down another animal by his forepaw. The sculpture today was transferred into the city hall. (see: this photo).
The arms were adopted by the city council on 4 March 1971.
Sources: Stadler 1972, p.27 and Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.25
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Flag (1953 - 1969)

[Bonn borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is a red over blue horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source:
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Coat of Arms (1732 - 1938 / 1953 - 1969)

[Bonn CoA (1732 - 1938 / 1953 - 1969)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2017

Shield Azure, a lion passant Gules, chief Argent charged with a throughout cross gyronny Sable. Meaning: The arms had been in use probably for some 250 years, but officially since 1732. They are based on city seals between 1351 and 1356. The chief is representing the Archbishops of Köln, the former rulers. The gyrons of the cross were realised either as black and white or as black and grey, although the whole cross was considered to be black. The shape of shield and lion varied through the centuries. The lion sometimes was crowned. Furthermore there are versions with a mural crown with 3 or 5 towers. These arms were abolished in 1938 and restored in 1953.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

When this coat of arms was introduced between 1334 and 1345 - in former times it had been used as a seal - the boroughs of Bad Godesberg, Beuel, Bonn and Hardtberg had been independent villages. This symbol was the coat of arms of the village of Bonn, which essentially enclosed the centre today. The lion is still the symbol of Bonn as a city with a law-court. The cross in the upper part emerged from the coat of arms of the former ruling Archbishops and Electors of Köln. When Bonn became capital of (West-) Germany in 1949, the communities expanded to such a great extent that it developed into a big city. In 1969 it was finally decided that all communities should be united in one city called "Bonn". All districts kept their coats of arms, but on 4 March 1971 the City Council of Bonn decided to introduce a new combined coat of arms.
Esteban Rivera, 20 Dec 2016

These flag and arms became symbols of the city district (= borough) Bonn afterwards.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Bonn Borough Pennant
Wimpel Bonn Kernstadt

[Bonn borough pennant] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017, based on image provided by Erich Egmont in 2010

This is a pennant version of the Bonn Borough, sometimes denoted as Flagge Bonn Kernstadt.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 28 July 2011

Coat of Arms (1938 - 1953)

[Bonn CoA (1938 - 1953)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2017

As due two heraldic rules a blue field shouldn't be charged with a red lion (colour on colour) the lion was replaced by a lion passant guardant Or. His shape acc. to source was the same as in the current arms. Please note however that the pre-1971 versions both in chief are shaped like a French (or Samnitic) shield but are round in base.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017


Bad Godesberg Borough

Bad Godesberg Flag

[Bad Godesberg borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is a red over yellow horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Bad Godesberg Coat of Arms

Shield Gules, issuant from base a triplemount Vert, crowned by a castle Or with three embattled towers, windows Sable, port Argent partially closed by a portcullis Sable, the higher central tower is charged with an inescutcheon Argent displaying a throughout black cross.
Meaning:
The inescutcheon displays the arms of the Archbishops of Köln, the former rulers. The castle is representing Godesburg, the local castle. The mount is representing Godesberg, Rüngsdorf and Plittersdorf, which had been uniteded in 1899 by the Prussian King. The arms were granted in 1900, in use since 1901 and the tinctures were fixed on 8 June 1925 by the local council.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.26
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017


Beuel Borough

Beuel Flag

[Beuel borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is a blue over yellow horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017

Beuel Coat of Arms

Shield Or with base wavy Azure, sailing on base a ferry Gules (or Tawny) with a pennant Argent on top of its mast. In chief 13 6-point stars Azure ordered 5:3:5.
Meaning:
Ferries played an important role in the past, before the first bridge was finished in 1898, connecting Bonn with Vilich. The ferry is also representing fishing as an important business line in the past. The base wavy is representing the Rhine. Beuel Municipality gained the title of a city on 24 August 1952. Each star is representing one of the former communes of the city: Beuel (proper), Geislar, Hoholz, Holtorf, Holzlar, Küdinghoven, Limperich, Oberkassel, Pützchen-Bechlingshoven, Ramersdorf, Schwarzrheindorf-Villich-Rheindorf, Vilich and Müldorf. The flag colours are the main colours of the coat of arms.
The date of adoption is unknown.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.29
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017


Friesdorf Borough

Friesdorf Flag

[Friesdorf borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is a yellow over red horizontal bicolour with centred arms.
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Friesdorf Coat of Arms

Shield Gules, issuant from base a triplemount Vert, a house Or with triangular gable and six windows Sable ordered 2:2:2, at dexter annexed a gate Or with port Gules, chief Argent charged with a throughout cross Sable.
Meaning:
The triplemount is symbolizing the following mountains: Klufterberg, Annaberg and Kahlenberg and the Friesdorfer Berge as a whole. The house, today located at address "Annaberger Straße 216" is one of the oldest houses at the Rhine, probably first mentioned 1139. It had been the seat of the Knights of Friesdorf, name givers of the borough. The gate was added in 1777. The cross is alluding to the Archbishops of Köln, the former rulers. Yellow and red are the colours of the flag of Bad Godesberg.
The symbols were adopted in 2004 by the local assembly.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.26
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017


Hardtberg Borough

Hardtberg Flag

[Hardtberg borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is an armourial flag (banner of arms).
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017

Hardtberg Banner

[Hardtberg borough flag] speculative image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is an armourial banner (banner of arms).
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.29
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017

Hardtberg Coat of Arms

Shield Azure a gridiron Argent, chief Argent charged with a throughout cross Sable.
Meaning:
Hardtberg overtook the symbols of the former Duisdorf subcounty (= Amt). The gridiron is the attribute of St. Lawrence, patron saint of the parish church of former Lessenich municipality. The black cross is alluding to the Archbishops of Köln, the former rulers. On 26 June 1958 German heraldrist Bergmann gave a presentation in Duisdorf in order to introduce proper symbols. The arms were based on a lay judge seal of Duisdorf, displaying St. Lawrence with gridiron and shield with the cross of Köln. As Duisdorf had been separated from Lessenich parish ca. 100 years before, the pattern couldn't be adopted completely. Bergmann recommended a simplification by choosing the cross and the gridiron alone in order to stress the connection with the past. The symbols were designed after 2 September 1958.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017


Lannesdorf Borough

Lannesdorf Flag

[Lannesdorf borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

The flag is off-centred quartered of red and yellow, the borderlines superimposed by a black off-centred cross. The coat of arms is on the common point of all quarters.
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017

Lannesdorf Coat of Arms

Shield Vert, a bend sinister wavy Argent.
Meaning:
Red and yellow are the colours of Bad Godesberg. Green is the colour of Rhineland, the bend wavy is symbolising Rhine River. The arms are derived from those of former Prussian Rhine Province, but without its chief.
The date of adoption is not known.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.29
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017


Lengsdorf Borough

Lengsdorf Flag

[Lengsdorf borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is an armourial flag (banner of arms).
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017

Lengsdorf Coat of Arms

Shield Gules parted by a saltire Argent, in top and bottom quarter a pair of keys Or ordered per saltire.
Meaning:
The keys are an attribute of St. Peter, patron saint of the local parish church in Ketten.
Flag and arms were approved on 6 September 1961 by Minister of Interior of Northrhine-Westphalia. Since 1969 they are unofficial and used for traditional purposes only.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.30
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2017


Muffendorf Borough

Muffendorf Flag

[Muffendorf borough flag] 3:5 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

It is a red over yellow horizontal bicolour with off-centred arms.
Source: this online catalogue
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017

Muffendorf Coat of Arms

Shield Gules three pales Sable, on top a bar Sable, chief Argent charged with a cross patty Sable.
Meaning:
The chief is alluding to the Teutonic Order, which had a commandery in Muffendorf. The date of adoption is unknown. The symbols may be unofficial. They are used on local festivals.
Source: Roman Klimeš: "Die Symbole der Bundesstadt Bonn", published in "Flaggenkurier No.33", Berlin 2011, p.26
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 May 2017


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