23.6.09

Flying Tuesday June 23, 2009.

Luxembourg: The Grand Duke's Official Birthday is celebrated as an annual national holiday in Luxembourg. It is celebrated on 23 June, although this has never been the actual birthday of any ruler of Luxembourg. So today you will see a Luxembourg flag flying in Vernon Street.

The official ensign for ships registered in Luxembourg


Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume became Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg on November 12 1964 and was educated in Luxembourg and in France, where he obtained his baccalaureate in 1974. He then studied political sciences at University of Geneva, graduating in 1980. The Grand Duke also undertook military officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England.


Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Strictly the national flag of Luxembourg consists of three horizontal stripes, red, white and blue.


The national flag of Luxembourg

It was first used between 1845 and 1848 and officially adopted on June 23, 1972. Luxembourg had no flag until 1830, when patriots were urged to display the national colors. The flag was not officially adopted until 1972.

The red lion flag flown today is the official ensign for ships registered in Luxembourg. It is used for river and sea shipping, as well as for aviation. This flag is based on the Coat of arms of Luxembourg and is used as the ensign to avoid the possibility of Luxembourg's ensign being confused for that of the Netherlands. Ten white and blue stripes serve as the field for a red lion with a yellow tongue and crown.

The tricolor flag is almost identical to that of the Netherlands, except that it is longer and its blue stripe is a lighter shade.

The flag of the Netherlands, the blue being marginally darker, but confusing nonetheless.

There have been moves to replace the current red-white-blue national flag with the red lion ensign. It is argued that the current flag was commonly confused with that of the Netherlands and that the red lion on the other hand was more popular, more aesthetic and of greater historic value.

There has been reaction against this idea, and also a formal obstacle for replacing the flag could be that the neighbouring Belgian province of Luxembourg also uses a flag similar to the red lion flag. The State flag of the German state of Hesse also incorporates a very similar design.

The flag of the Belgian Province of Luxenbourg, and that of the German State of Hesse