The national flag of the kingdom of
Belgium (Dutch: Vlag van het
koninkrijk België, French: Drapeau de la Belgique, German: Flagge
Belgiens) is a tricolour of three bands of black, yellow, and red. The
colours were taken from the coat of arms of the Duchy of Brabant, and
the vertical design may be based on the flag of France. When flown,
the black band is nearest the pole (at the hoist side). It has the
unusual proportions of 13:15.
1 Previous flags
2 Independence and adoption of current flag
3 Design and specifications
National flag and civil ensign
Naval ensign and jack
4.3 Royal standard and flags on the royal palaces
6 Related flags
7 See also
9 External links
After the death of Charlemagne, the present-day territory of Belgium
(except the County of Flanders) became part of Lotharingia, which had
a flag of two horizontal red stripes separated by a white stripe.
The territory then passed into Spanish hands, and after the coronation
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor yellow and red, the colours of Spain,
were added. From the 16th century to the end of the 18th century, the
colours of what is now
Belgium were red, white and yellow.
Occasionally the red cross of Burgundy was placed on the white section
of the flag.
During the period of Austrian rule, a number of different flags were
tried, until the Austrian Emperor imposed the Austrian flag. The
Brussels was opposed to this, and following the example
of France, red, yellow and black cockades began to appear; those being
the colours of Brabant. The colours thus correspond to the red lion
of Hainaut, Limburg and Luxembourg, the yellow lion of Brabant, and
the black lion of Flanders and Namur.
Independence and adoption of current flag
Flag of the
Brabant Revolution (1789–1790)
Flag of the
Belgian Revolution (1830–1831)
The early revolutionary variations of the Belgian tricolour
On 26 August 1830, the day after the rioting at the
Brussels Opera and
the start of the Belgian Revolution, the flag of France flew from the
city hall of Brussels. The insurgents hastily replaced it with a
tricolour of red, yellow and black horizontal stripes (similar to the
one used during the Brabant Revolution of 1789-1790 which had
established the United States of Belgium) made at a nearby fabric
store. As a result, Article 193 of the Constitution of Belgium
describes the colours of the Belgian nation as Red,
Yellow and Black
instead of using the order shown in the official flag.
On 23 January 1831, the stripes changed from horizontal to vertical,
and on 12 October the flag attained its modern form, with the black
placed at the hoist side of the flag.
Design and specifications
The official guide to protocol in
Belgium states that the national
flag measures 2.6 m (8.5 ft) tall for each 3 m
(9.8 ft) wide, giving it a ratio of 13:15. Each of the stripes
is one-third of the width of the flag. The yellow is in fact yellow
and not the darker gold of the flag of Germany, which is a
black-gold-red tricolour, but striped horizontally, not vertically.
The flag on the Royal Palace of Brussels.
National flag and civil ensign
The national flag has the unusual proportions of 13:15. The 2:3 flag
is the civil ensign, the correct flag for use by civilians at sea.
Naval ensign and jack
The naval ensign of
Belgium has the three national colours in a
saltire, on a white field, with a black crown above crossed cannons at
the top and a black anchor at the bottom. It was created in 1950,
shortly after the
Belgian Navy was re-established, having been a
section of the British
Royal Navy during World War II, and it is
reminiscent of the white ensign of the Royal Navy.
There is also an official Belgian naval jack, which is the same as the
national flag, except in a 1:1 ratio, making it square.
Royal standard and flags on the royal palaces
The royal standard of
Belgium is the personal standard of the current
king, Philippe, and features his monogram, an 'F' (for the Dutch
'Filip'), crossed with a 'P' in the four corners. The designs of royal
standards of past monarchs have been similar.
Notably, the flag of
Belgium flown on the Royal Palace of
Royal Castle of Laeken
Royal Castle of Laeken is in none of the proportions above. It has
the irregular 4:3 ratio, making it taller than it is wide. The
stripes remain vertical. These proportions are explained as an
aesthetic consideration, as the palaces are large, and the flags are
thus viewed from far below, which makes them look more normal due to
The flags are flown above the palaces when the king is in Belgium, not
necessarily just in one of the palaces. The flags are not flown if the
king is on a state visit to another country or on vacation outside
Belgium, There have been exceptions to this rule, but in general
presence or absence of the flag is a reasonably reliable indicator of
whether or not the king is in the country.
The flag on the
Belgian Senate building.
Belgium is a federal state, the flag of
Belgium and the flags of
the communities or regions in principle occupy the same rank.
Nonetheless, when flags are raised and lowered or carried in a
procession, the national flag takes precedence over all the others.
The order of precedence is:
The national flag of Belgium
The flag of the community or region of Belgium
The European flag
The flags of the provinces of Belgium, in alphabetical order in the
local language, if more than one is flown
The flag of the municipality
If there is a visiting head of state, that country's flag may be set
second in precedence, all other flags dropping a rank.
Flag of the Austrian Netherlands
Flag of the United Belgian States
Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of France
Flag of Benelux
Flag of Flanders
Flag of Wallonia
Flag of Brussels
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Van den Bussche, E., Chief of Protocol,
Belgian Federal Department of the Interior (2008). Noble Belgique, ô
Mère chérie - LE PROTOCOLE EN BELGIQUE (PROTOCOL IN BELGIUM) (in
French). Heule: Editions UGA. ISBN 978-90-6768-935-9.
^ "Belgium". Flags of the World. June 6, 2009. Retrieved October 3,
^ Converted from
CMYK using an online colour converter.
^ "Civil flag and Ensign of Belgium". Flags of the World. April 17,
2009. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
^ a b "Belgium:
Naval ensign and jack". Flags of the World. July 7,
2006. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
^ a b c d "Belgium: Royal standard". Flags of the World. Retrieved
July 3, 2013.
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