State symbols

Great Bavarian State Emblem

The Great Bavarian State Emblem has a long historyand tradition. It was established by law in 5 June 1950. The symbols shown by the emblem are deeply rooted in the Bavarian history. The heraldic elements of the “Great Bavarian State Emblem” each have a particular meaning:

The golden lion

In the black quarter is the golden lion in a black field. It was originally the symbol of the count Palatine of the Rhine. Following the investiture of Ludwig, Duke of Bavaria had been with the Palatinate in 1214, it served as the common symbol of the old Bavarian and Palatine House of Wittelsbach for centuries. Today, the golden Palatinate lion edged in red and rampant in the top left square stands for the Upper Palatinate administrative district.

The "Franconian rake"

The second quarter is halved by red and white (silver) areas, with three white triangles pointing upwards. This "rake" appeared around 1350 as the coat of arms of some towns of the Bishopric of Würzburg and has also been depicted in the seals of the prince-bishops since 1410. Today, the Franconian rake stands for the administrative districts of Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia and Lower Franconia.

The blue panther

The third quarter, bottom left, shows a blue panther rampant, edged in gold on a white (silver) background. Originally it was depicted in the coat of arms of the Palatines of Ortenburg based in Lower Bavaria. Later it was adopted by the House of Wittelsbach. Today, the blue panther represents the old Bavarian administrative districts of Lower Bavaria and Upper Bavaria.

The three black lions

The fourth quarter depicts three black lions couchant, edged in red one above the other, on a gold background. Their heads are turned towards the observer. They are taken from the old coat of arms of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, former dukes of Swabia. In the Bavarian state coat of arms, these three lions represent the administrative district of Swabia.

The white and blue central shield

The central shield features white (silver) and blue rhombuses slanting to the right. Formerly the coat of arms of the Counts of Bogen, it was adopted as the coat of arms of the House of Wittelsbach in 1242. The white and blue rhombuses are regarded as a symbol of Bavaria and symbol Bavaria as a whole. With the people’s crown they are also officially used as the "small Bavarian state coat of arms".

The people's crown („Volkskrone“)

On the four-squared shield with the central shield is the people’s crown („Volkskrone“). It consists of a golden rim decorated with stones and beset with five ornamental leaves. The people's crown, which first appeared in the coat of arms of 1923, symbolizes the sovereignty of the people after the abolition of the royal crown.

The lions holding a shield

The heraldic lions holding a shield continue a tradition from the 14th Century.

Small Bavarian State Emblem

The small Bavarian State Emblem consists of a shield with white (silver) and blue rhombuses and a people’s crown (“Volkskrone”).

Who may use the Bavarian state emblem?

The big as well as the small Bavarian state emblem are State emblems and principally limited for use by government and state agencies. They may also be used for artisticor scientific purposes and for teaching or civic education.

For any other purposes the approval of the government of Upper Franconia is required. An approval can be granted only in exceptional and duly justified cases.

The unauthorized use of the big or small Bavarian State Emblem or of its parts is an administrative offense and is punishable  with fines.

Source: Manual for the use of the big and small State emblem

The Bavarian State Flag

The Free State of Bavaria has two flags: the striped flag and the rhombus flag. Both flags are equal to each other.

The striped flag

The striped flag consists of one white and one blue horizontal stripe which have the same width. The white stripe is on top, the blue on the bottom.

The rhombus flag

The rhombus flag consists of at least 21 rhombuses, which are white or blue. The truncated rhombuses are counted as well. In front view a truncated rhombus is always on the top left of the flag. 

The Bavarian Anthem

Since 1964 the song “Für Bayern” (“For Bavaria”) is played on official events in Bavaria and since 1966 it is officially called “Anthem”. It comes from about the year 1860. The melody was composed by Konrad Max Kunz who was professor at the Munich Conservatory and choir director at the Royal Opera House. The original text was written by the Munich teacher Michael Öchsner. The first performance was in the “Bürger-Sänger-Zunft” (“Citizens-Singers-Guild”) in Munich. Through the dissemination in associations it quickly became well known. In 1952 the Bavarian State Parliament decided unanimously that the song “Für Bayern” should be taught in schools.