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Flag of Osijek, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 1 November 2009
The symbols of Osijek are prescribed by Decision Odluka o upotrebi grba, pečata i zastave Grada Osijeka, adopted on 2 July 1985. Accordingly, Osijek is one of the few municipalities whose symbols remained unchanged after the change of regime in Croatia in 1990.
The use of the symbols is prescribed by Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave, imena i svečane pjesme Grada Osjeka, adopted on 14 February 1995 by the Town Assembly and published in 1995 in the Town official gazette Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 1. The Decision allows the use of flag in size and proportions different from prescribed in the Statutes for decorative purpose during festive occasions. This is the legal basis of the very long flags reported in use.
Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave, imena i svečane pjesme Grada Osjeka, adopted on 21 July 2009 by the Town Assembly and published on 22 July 2009 in Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 9, introduced minor changes to the original Decision wording, reflecting the change in the administrative organization of the town and granting more responsabilities to the Mayor.
The symbols are described in the Town Temporary Statutes Privremeni statut Grada Osijeka, published in 1993 in Službeni glasnik Općine Osijek, No. 3. This was repeated in Article 5 of the first Town Statutes Statut Grada Osijeka, adopted on 25 January 1994 by the Town Assembly and published on 31 January 1994 in Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 1. Article 5 of Amendment Statut o izmjenama i dopunama Statuta Grada Osijeka, adopted on 16 February 1996 by the Town Assembly and published in Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 1, added the description of the Town seal.
The description of the symbols was repeated in Article 5 of the Town Statutes Statut Grada Osijeka, adopted on 25 September 2001 by the Town Assembly and published in Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 6. The amended Statutes Statut o izmjenama i dopunama Statuta Grada Osijeka, adopted on 22 April 2003 by the Town Assembly and published in Službeni glasnik Grada Osijeka, No. 3, introduce only very minor change, mentioning now also the symbols of the national minorities among other things (Town coat of arms, seal, flag, chain, anthem) to be determined with a further Decision on their use, and adding Article 5a granting the right to the members of minorities to display their national symbols, provided that they display the national symbols of Croatia beside them.
The symbols were approved by the Ministry of Administration on 8 September 1993, together with the symbols of Vukovar-Srijem County. This must be the first approval issued by the Ministry following the 1993 administrative reform that introduced the need for such approvals. However, this heppaned before any heraldic comission was established and before any guidelines and rules were in force; therefore the approval was granted only based on legal procedures and without any heraldic/vexillologic considerations. That is the reason why the design of the symbols of Osijek is so much different from most other municipal symbols in Croatia.
The flag is described in Article 5 of the Town Statutes:
The colors of the flag are white and cobalt-blue. The ratio of the length to width of the flag is 2:1 and the colors are set perpendicularly to the staff, so that the white is at the top of the staff, and, if the flag is hoisted without the staff, the white is on the left side, looking at the flag. In the middle of the flag is the coat of arms of the Town of Osijek. The ratio of the height of the coat of arms to the height [length] of the flag is 1:4. The ceremonial flag of the Town of Osijek is made of white and cobalt-blue silk, and the coat of arms of the Town of Osijek in the flag is made in golden embroidery technique on both sides of the flag.
The horizontal and vertical versions of the flag are clearly mentioned, although the rotation of the coat of arms is not explicitly mentioned; both versions are reportedly in use in Osijek. The flag rotation for the vertical hoisting is properly prescribed ("rotate 90 degrees and flip"), following the heraldic tradition. The ceremonial flag is differing from the normal one only by the material and production techniques, while having the same design as the "normal" flag, as is the case for several other local flags in Slavonia.
The vertical flag is often used as a very long vertically displayed flag, occasionally without the coat of arms, too. The flag was used in such way long before the 1990s.
Željko Heimer, 29 June 2012
Coat of arms of Osijek - Image by Željko Heimer, 1 November 2009
The coat of arms is described in Article 5 of the Town Statutes:
The coat of arms of the Town of Osijek is in a stylized shield shape with a ratio of height to width of 5:4. In its central part is highlighted a bridge with three arches over the Drava river. In the middle of it, a rectangular tower is raising with three embattlements, two windows and a single rectangular door. Above the central embattlement is a smaller shield containing an arm holding a sabre. The four basic colours of the coat of arms are cobalt blue, vermilion red, golden and silver. The area above and below the bridge and the tower is cobalt blue. The hand in the smaller shield and the outline of the fist are vermilion red. The outlines of the coat of arms and the fist in the smaller shield are golden. The bridge, tower, outline of the smaller shield and the sabre are silver.
[...] The prototype of the coat of arms is made in multicolur ceramo-plastics technique, 50 cm in height.
If you follow this description closely, you may notice that the color of the smaller shield is not mentioned and that would suggest that it should be blue; however, it seems that in all depictions this shield is shown with a white field. Of course, the description does not mention white at all, and the standard depictions, which may or may not be much similar to the mentioned prototype, use both silver-grey and white colors to show varous elements of the coat of arms. The prescribed detail of the fist to be golden with a red outline is, as a rule, so small that it is hardly possible to notice it. The golden outline of the shield is, of course, a heraldic nonsense, and even if it is shown with that outline on the flags as a rule, the coat of arms when shown on its own often omits that outline.
The embowed hand holding a sabre is known as the arms of ancient Bosnia or Rama, so its inclusion in the coat of arms of Osijek appears to be puzzling. Some authors suggested that it happened because
Osijek was territorially part of the Franciscan province of Bosnia
Argentum or some other ecclesiastic territory linked with the Diocese of
Bosnia (which was seated in Đakovo and formally included Slavonia until very recently).
However, the puzzle is solved though an article by Nikša Stančić and Dubravka Pejić Čaldarović published in Grb i zastava (No. 11, in print) and based on their book Povijest hrvatskoga grba (Zagreb, 2011). In the 18th-19th centuries, from the liberation of Slavonia until around the 1860s, the official Habsburg courtly heraldry, just as the official heraldry of Croatian nobility, used several variations of heraldic designs to represent the newly liberated regions. Even though the Parliament in Zagreb had used since the 15th century the coat of arms of Slavonia as granted in 1497 (the current one with the marten) the other versions used to represent Slavonia included coat of arms depicting three hounds and a coat of arms depicting an embowed hand with a sabre (the so-called coat of arms of Rama) - all of them with variations in detail and colouring. Therefore, King Francis I obviously used the coat of arms of Rama (just as he used the same design in his Imperial seals in quarters representing Slavonia, next to the already well-established design for Croatia and Dalmatia) to symbolize the crown land of Slavonia. It was only in the 1860s that the Habsburg heraldry stabilized and reverted to the old 1497 arms of Slavonia.
Željko Heimer, 29 June 2012
Flag of the Osijek Bakers' Guild (1800)
The flag of the Bakers' Guild from year 1800 (image) was shown on the website of the Osijek Slavonian Museum. There was no any other information on the flag there. Its shape is typical for the period, based on cavalry guidons. Blue colour may have been a reference to the town, whose traditional color is blue. The flag contains the painting of a saint, probably the patron saint of the guild. The reverse would probably have some other picture in that place. There is some kind of heraldic device in the lower hoist corner of the painted part.
Željko Heimer & Dov Gutterman, 25 August 1999
Flag of the National Guard
The website of the Osijek Slavonian Museum shows a swallow-tailed flag (image). On the white field there is Illyria's coat of arms with inscriptions in Croatian, "GLAVNA STRAŽARA NARODNE GARDE", and German, "HAUPTWACHE DER NATIONALGARDE" (National Guard Main Outpost). This flag was damaged by the weather.
Željko Heimer & Milan Jovanović, 29 April 2007
Flag of Osijek FC - Image by Željko Heimer, 29 December 2000
The flag of NK Osijek (Nogometni klub Osijek, Osijek FC), as seen on Croatian TV news, 28 December 2000, is horizontally divided blue-white-blue, the club colors, with the club emblem in the middle.
The club emblem is, obviously, based on the coat of arms of Osijek-Baranja County.
Željko Heimer, 29 December 2000