The flag of Switzerland consists of a red flag with a white cross (a bold, equilateral cross) in the centre. It is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of Vatican City. (The civil and state ensign, used by Swiss ships and boats, has the more common proportions of 3:2.)
Only the dimensions of the cross are formally established since 1889: "The coat of arms of the federation is, within a red field, an upright white cross, whose [four] arms of equal length are one and a sixth times as long as they are wide." The size of the cross in relation to the field is not formally established except on the naval ensign, for which the ratio of the size of the cross to the height is 5:8, and to the length is 5:12. A ratio of 2:3 or 7:10 to the span of the flag is usual.
Use of the white cross as a military ensign (attached to the cantonal flags in the form of strips of linen) has been used in the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 14th century, but the modern design of a white cross suspended in a square red field was introduced only during the Napoleonic period, first used in 1800 during the Hundred Days by general Niklaus Franz von Bachmann, and was introduced as official national flag in 1889.
Thank you, Hansjürg !
Sent on: August 6, 2016
Received on: August 10, 2016