The Story Behind The Austrian Flag

The most common version of the Austrian flag
The most common version of the Austrian flag | Pixabay
Culture Trip

A flag can give insight into a country’s identity and history. For instance, the colours of France pay tribute to liberty, equality and fraternity, while the 50 stars on America’s banner represent the states. The red and white stripes of Austria are seen all over the country but what do these colours mean? Discover more about the origins of the Austrian flag, believed to be one of the oldest in the world.

The various designs and what they mean

Austria has had a few varieties of flags in its lifetime, and currently uses two different styles which you’ll often see around the city of Vienna today. The design that you’ll most commonly notice, and which is most often used to represent Austria, is the simple red and white horizontal three-striped design – which officially became the country’s national flag in 1945.

The alternative variety (known as the triband) has its roots in the Babenberg dynasty and includes the addition of a spread eagle, which some believe to be symbolic of the River Danube, one of the emblems of the royal family and a nod to the country’s past. After the end of the second world war, in order to symbolise freedom from the Nazi party, a broken chain was added to the eagle’s feet in 1945.

An old version of the eagle flag
The eagle flag, seen with the broken chains on its feet

The story

There are a few different varieties of the tale that tells the origins of the flag that is seen today, but the most popular, typically, is one of blood and gore. It is alleged that Duke Leopold V, whilst fighting in the Siege of Acre in 1260, suffered terrible wounds and was bleeding profusely, resulting in much of his clothes being smothered in blood. However, when he removed his belt, there was a strip of unsoiled material, inspiring him to create the red and white banner.

The flag of the Habsburg Monarchy, which would have been flying over much of Europe throughout the empire’s reign, is a starkly different design – a bold composition of one black and one yellow stripe – not dissimilar to the German flag.

Austrian flag on a statue in Vienna

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article