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Rhine Customs Administration 1805-1806 (France and Germany)

rheinoktroi, rheinzollverwaltung

Last modified: 2015-05-15 by pete loeser
Keywords: rheinzollverwaltung |
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[Rhine Customs Administration 1805-1806 (France and Germany)] Image by Santiago Dotor
Flag adopted 1805, abolished 1806

Flags on this page: See also:

Rhine Customs Administration Flag
Rheinzollverwaltung Flagge

Both... "France and the Holy Roman Empire wanted to create a flag in 1805 for the common customs administration of the river Rhine, which would consist of both imperial colors. There was a diagonal stripe in the basic colors of the German and French eagle[-bearing]-coats-of-arms: yellow and blue. The eight stripes were diagonal from the hoist top to the fly bottom; the left bottom stripe was blue and the right top stripe was yellow." (My translation)
Sources: O. Neubecker, Fahnen und Flaggen, Leipzig 1939 and Jaume Ollé from Flaggenmitteilung
Jarig Bakker, 8 Dec 1999

The field (rather than "basic") colour (Grundfarben) of the French imperial coat-of-arms was blue. So the flag is quite simply bendy of eight Or and Azure.
Santiago Dotor, 13 Dec 1999

The description and the flag appear on pp. 85-86 of Neubecker 1939a (the description is only the first part quoted above, up to "...Gelb und Blau"). The flag is labelled Rheinoktroi 1805-1806 and appears to be almost exactly a ratio of 2:3. I believe the flag was no longer used after the Holy Roman Empire disappeared in 1806.
Santiago Dotor, 27 Mar 2001

Oktroi is an old German term for customs. The word came from the French octroyer meaning "(customs) imposed or forced upon." Therefore Rheinoktroi means Rhine Customs.
Jens Pattke, 28 Mar 2001

In French, octroi specifically refers to a city toll, and is translated in English, in this sense, as octroi, according to Robert-Collins dictionary. A tax had to be paid on several goods, especially foodstuffs, when entering a city (this tax was suppressed in 1948). Octroi was also used to design the administration in charge of the tax and the offices where it was paid. The word comes from the popular Latin auctioridare, with the same root as author, authorize etc.
Ivan Sache, 31 Mar 2001

Rhine Police Flags
Rheinpolizei Flagge

     The book "150 Jahre Rheinstromflagge" (150 years of Rhine river flag) reports on all transnational Rhine flags since about 1800. The first should have been introduced in 1804 with the Art. 88 of the convention: the ships shall "hoist a divided flag with the colours of the two empires. However, the article suggests the flag was adopted in 1801, not 1805. How this flag really looked is unknown. (A diagonally striped one is a later variant, according to [dum51] and different from [1939a] in use until 1815.)

[Rhine police flag] Speculative image by Pete Loeser, 19 May 2011

     It also states that later the word "Rhenus" (Latin for Rhine) was added to the civil ensigns of the Rhine states. After 1913, the river police began using a specific recognition flag, made of triangles in the national colours black-white-red and similar in design to the red-white-blue flag used by Dutch River Police boats.

[German Rhine police flag] Image by Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 15 Dec 2002
Design used 1913-1924 and 1933-1949

     In 1924 this was replaced by black-red-gold triangles, switching back to black-white-red in 1933. A temporary police flag was introduced in 1949, showing on a white field two black diagonal stripes, and a "P" at the hoist. In 1951 the 1924-1933 flag was reintroduced.

[German 1924 Rhine police flag] Image by Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 15 Dec 2002
Design used between 1924-1933 and 1951-?

     Unfortunately, I do not have more material on these flags, neither if they are still used, nor do I have an illustration of the 1949 flag.
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 15 Dec 2002

The "Règlement de police pour la navigation du Rhin", dated 1 January 1955 and issued by the Commission Centrale pour la navigation du Rhin has further recognition flags for Switzerland (upper and lower triangles red, left and right triangles white) and France (upper and lower triangles white, left triangle blue, right triangle red). With Germany and the Netherlands, they can be found under Art. 105.1 Contrôle (daylight use) of Annexe 6, Tableau des signaux, p. 76. This booklet has other interesting flags, for traffic purposes mainly, but I have no idea if they are still in use. I have it from my father who was a civil servant responsible for inland shipping.
Jan Mertens, 16 Dec 2002

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