The flag of Austria has three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and
red. The Austrian flag is possibly the oldest national flag design in the world.
The Danish flag and the Austrian flag are said to be the oldest in use. Duke
Friedrich II (1210-1246), the last of the Babenberg dynasty, who was nicknamed
the "Quarrelsome" or the "Warlike", designed a new coat of arms in red-white-red
in the year 1230 in his attempt to become more independent from the Holy Roman
The Naval Ensign has three equal horizontal bands of red, white, and red, with
the coat of arms surmounted.
History of the Austrian Flag
The nation of Austria has been around for hundreds of years, but the Austrian
flag has changed surprisingly little over that time. Only two Austrian flags
have seen significant use, one that represented the nation and people of
Austria itself, and one that came from the colors of the ruling Hapsburg
The Flag of the Austrian Nation
The current and oldest of the two Austrian flags is a horizontal, bicolour
triband of red and white. It is sometimes shown with the Austrian coat of arms
in the center.
The red and white pattern originates with the Babenberg dynasty's coat of
arms, which were red and silver. Legend says that this pattern originated with
Duke Leopold V when he fought in the Siege of Acre during the Third Crusade.
The legend says that he went into battle wearing a white surcoat, which got
stained a deep shade of red during the fighting. Only the part that was covered
by his belt remained clean. He saw the bloody red with a clean white stripe
when he changed his clothes after the battle, and he thought it was so striking
that he took it as his personal heraldry.
Whether that story is true or not, the pattern remained with Austria even
after the Babenberg dynasty died out. Every successive dynasty that ruled Austria
adopted the colors when they took the throne and eventually they came to be
associated with the nation rather than its kings.
The Flag of the Hapsburg Dynasty
The other Austrian flag is a simple bicolour of black and yellow, which comes
from the banner of the Holy Roman Empire. It was technically the flag of the
Hapsburg dynasty rather than the nation of Austria, but it became associated
with Austria because that was the center of the Hapsburg empire. The Hapsburg
family often used the two flags together, so that they could emphasize Austria's
importance at the same time that they emphasized their broader rule. This flag
fell out of use after the Hapsburg dynasty was removed from power and the nation
of Austria-Hungary was broken up into its constituent parts, which happened
after the first world war.
- Capital of Austria: Vienna
- Area of Austria: 32383 sq mi
- Languages used in Austria: German (official), Slovene,
Croatian & Hungarian
- Religions in Austria: Roman Catholic, Protestant