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Haut-Rhin (Department, France)

Last modified: 2013-02-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: haut-rhin | alsace | upper alsace | crows: 6 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Haut-Rhin]

Flag of the department of Haut-Rhin - Image by Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 24 October 2009

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Administrative data

Code: 68
Region: Alsace
Traditional province: Alsace
Bordering departments: Bas-Rhin, Vosges, Territoire de Belfort
Bordering countries: Germany (Federal State of Baden-Württemberg), Switzerland (Cantons of Basle-City, Basle-Land, Jura and Solothurn)

Area: 3,525 km2
Population (2005): 731,000 inhabitants

Préfecture: Colmar
Sous-préfectures: Altkirch, Guebwiller, Mulhouse, Ribeauvillé, Thann
Subdivisions: 6 arrondissements, 31 cantons, 377 communes.

The department is named ("Upper-Rhine") after river Rhine.

Ivan Sache, 14 November 2009

Flag of Haut-Rhin

Since 2000, the flag of the department of Haut-Rhin is hoisted over the building of the General Council at Colmar and over several town halls in the department, for instance Mulhouse (photo).
The flag is a banner of the arms of the department, De gueules à la bande d'or accompagnée de six couronnes d'or ("Gules a bend between six crowns bendwise or"), officially granted on 5 May 1948.

The department of Haut-Rhin uses the arms of the County (Landgraviate) of Upper-Alsace, suppressed in 1648 by the Peace of Westphalia. The arms appeared for the first time in 1418 on a seal of Ernest the Iron, Duke of Austria (1377-1424). The tinctures of the arms were given in Conrad Grünenberg's Wappenbuch (Armorial), dated 1483. The Habsburg took control of Upper-Alsace in the 11th century but did not use specific arms until 1418. The use of crowns as charges highlights the aspiration of the Habsburg to royalty; the crowns might refer to the three King Magi, who were deeply venerated at the time in the Rhine valley. An erudite close to Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) wrote in 1507 that the six crowns of the blazon of [Upper-] Alsace recalled that Alsace was one of the six entities that formed the old Kingdom of Burgundy.
Until the incorporation into the Kingdom of France, Alsace did not form a single political entity and, therefore, could not have arms. At the end of the 17th century, the Armorial Général ascribed to Alsace the arms of the Holy Roman Empire, "Or a double-headed eagle sable". In practice, these arms were not used but replaced by the juxtaposition of the arms of Upper and Lower-Alsace. The arms of the two parts of Alsace were eventually merged into a single shield divided per pale. This coat of arms appeared on the frontispiece of Laguille's Histoire de la province d'Alsace, published in 1727.
The design of the arms of Alsace was confirmed in 1948 by the Préfets of the two departments of Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin, with a modification. For the sake of symmetry and aesthetics, it was required to mirror one of the halves of the arms, changing a bend to a bend sinister and eventually forming a chevron. While Laguille had mirrored the arms of Upper-Alsace, Bas-Rhin, by courtesy, mirrored its arms in 1948.

Source: Armorial des Communes du Haut-Rhin

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 10 November 2012

Flag of the General Council of Haut-Rhin

[Flag of Haut-Rhin]

Flag of the General Council of Haut-Rhin - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 November 2009

The flag of the General Council of Haut- Rhin, white with the General Council's logo, is hoisted in front of the building of the General Council in Colmar.

The logo of the General Council of Haut-Rhin, adopted in 2005, shows a close-up of a photo of the department's flag, flanked by the writing "Conseil Général" (top) and "Haut-Rhin" (bottom), in blue letters.

Pascal Vagnat, 8 November 2009