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Märkisch County (Germany)

Märkischer Kreis, Northrhine-Westphalia

Last modified: 2013-12-09 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: northrhine-westphalia | maerkischer kreis | coat of arms(per fess) | demi-lion | issuant | markian chequered bar |
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[Märkischer Kreis County (Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany)] 3:5  image by Stefan Schwoon
adopted 6 May 1976 See also:


The county was created in 1975 by joining the former counties of Iserlohn and Lüdenscheid, and the [until then] county-free city of Iserlohn. Lüdenscheid county was named Altena county before 1969 when the (formerly county-free) city of Lüdenscheid was integrated into it.

The name of the Märkischer Kreis county refers to the former County of Mark (in the medieval sense) or Grafschaft Mark which included the area south of, but not including, Dortmund. A map of this medieval county can be seen in this map of German Territories in 1789 at the Baden-Württemberg mailing list website [v-shaped, light blue, labelled 'Gft. Mark', east of the Netherlands and just south of the Bishopric of Münster]. The name is not quite appropriate since the modern county includes only the southeastern part of the former Grafschaft Mark, and because some parts of it belonged to other territories (Duchy of Westphalia, belonging to the Archbishopric of Cologne, and the County of Limburg). All of these territories were part of the Prussian province of Westphalia after 1815, but their symbols still occur in the municipal arms (and hence the flags):

  • County of Mark: on a golden field, a chequered bar in red and white, normally 3 × 9 fields [blazon: Or, a fess chequy Gules and Argent].
  • Archbishopric of Cologne: black cross on a silver field [blazon: Argent, a cross Sable].
  • County of Limburg: on a silver field a red lion armed and crowned blue [blazon: Argent, a lion Gules, armed and crowned Azure].

Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

While cities traditionally had the right to bear arms, municipalities in Prussia were not entitled to them until 1933. In the years thereafter, many municipalities in Prussia and all municipalities in the area of the Märkischer Kreis county adopted arms. A number of the newly adopted or changed arms of this time owed their symbolism to Nazi ideology. Therefore, after 1945, all civic arms in Germany were taken under scrutiny, and swastikas and other deprecated symbols had to be removed. However, none of the arms in the Märkischer Kreis county were required to change.

Stefan Schwoon, 29 June 2001


The modern county uses a flag that is prescribed in the Hauptsatzung (statutes) of the county which are available online. The flag-relevant part reads:

(3) Die Flagge des Märkischen Kreises ist von Gelb zu Rot zu Gelb im Verhältnis 1 : 3 : 1 längsgestreift und zeigt in der Mitte der roten Bahn den Wappenschild des Kreises.

[The flag of the Märkische Kreis is divided along the length of the flag into yellow, red, and yellow in proportions 1:3:1 and shows the arms of the county in the centre of the red field.]

Hostert 1979 also shows a banner of the same description. Flags and arms were adopted in 1976. The lion in the upper half corresponds to an older version of the arms of Mark.

Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

Hanging Flag


[Märkischer Kreis County hanging flag (Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany)]
image by Stefan Schwoon

Municipal Flags Source

The county Märkischer Kreis in Northrhine-Westphalia issued Hostert 1979, a book describing the symbols of the county and its 15 municipalities. With the assistance of Falko Schmidt, who kindly lent me the book, I drew the flags displayed in it, based on scanned images which were treated in the usual ways (changing palette, resizing, removing artifacts etc.) Therefore all Märkischer Kreis information I send is from Hostert 1979 with the exception of some additional material marked as such.
Stefan Schwoon, 20 June 2001

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