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Romania: Erroneous flag reports


Last modified: 2019-08-06 by alex danes
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An erroneous Romanian flag

[Romanian flag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 September 2005

When the Aero-show took place in 1993 in Paris the flag manufacturer wanted to know about the new flag of Romania. I had just received the message that the Romanian parliament had decided to show the coat of arms in the flag. So I informed the manufacturer. He handed that design to another manufacturer, and he produced that flag. And in Paris all the Romanian flags had the coat of arms in it. A week later I was informed that the parliamentary decision was deleted (for several reasons, one was the costs). But it was too late. The flags flew, and soon I received the information from several vexillologists that Romania had a new flag.
Ralf Stelter, 27 June 1999

One book with the Romanian coat of arms-bearing flag is Harenberg Lexikon der Gegenwart, Aktuell'94, although the '99 edition has the flag without the coat of arms.  Two websites also show this flag: here and here.
J. Patrick Fischer, 9 September 2005

This Romanian flag with full coat of arms is labeled "erroneous" which would be true from an official government standpoint. However, such flags are produced in Romania and are publicly displayed by at least one political party, especially during election time.
Clay Moss, 21 September 2006

An erroneous Romanian "war flag"

The Wikipedia page for the Romanian flag makes reference to the "war flag". I do not think that it is right here. This is a common mistake or source of confusion among vexillologists especially when translating from language to language. The war flag as defined per FIAV codes is the flag used as the national flag by the military on land. The war flag shown on the above-mentioned Wikipedia page is not that, it would be called in English rather a military colour(s). Such colours are used ceremonially only as the flag signifying the army (navy, air force etc. or the whole military) as a unit and exists in principle only in one single example. The war flag as defined per FIAV terminology is not of such kind, but rather the flag that is used by the military everyday on their installations, hoisted on the military headquarters buildings, in the barracks hoisted ceremonially every morning and similarly. The Wikipedia war flag is certainly not of that kind, the "usual" Romanian tricolour is used for that purpose in Romania, I believe. There are numerous examples of such flags in the military depots.
Željko Heimer, 21 September 2006

I've taken my time studying photos of Romanian military ceremonies and reading official recommendations for this, mainly those linked from the Wikipedia page. They're in Romanian but I can translate the relevant ones, particularly this one: .

From what I've seen, there are two types of "war flags" (let's call them that for a while longer). One type is the one showed at the above URL. The picture is terrible, but you can find a Romanian description on that page and some English translation on the Wikipedia page:

There isn't one war flag but 3. They vary in that the coat of arms and the insignia at the flag corners change with the type of army: crossed swords for the land units, an anchor for navy units, some navigation instruments for the air units. There are many pictures showing these flags being used during military ceremonies. However, I should note, if that's worth anything, that I've seen pictures of Romanian units in Iraq and Afghanistan and they had plain Romanian flags, not these flags.

There is another type of flag, which Wikipedia claims is used only indoors and only at specific ceremonies. Again, there are 4 flags, not one, and the land unit flag (red) is shown there. The general staff is yellow, the air units flag is light blue, the navy flag is dark blue. I've seen a picture showing all four flags together at a ceremony, I'll try to locate it again. The URL above also clearly states that ships all use the regular Romanian flag, no matter if they're military or civilian ships. So both types are "military colors" and not war flags, if I understand you correctly?
Ciprian, 24 September 2006

You understand Željko correctly Ciprian, and he is perfectly right that the flags described are indeed military colours and to describe them as "war flags" is to misuse the term. There is one point I would make however, and this is that a war flag can and is often used by the naval forces of a country as well as by the army, and so may be used on both land and sea.
Christopher Southworth, 24 September 2006