12

Numerous countries have historical flags which, when flown or otherwise celebrated, carry significant contemporary political connotations and are usually interpreted as a sign that the person flying said flag has a particular (usually staunchly conservative/right wing) Weltanschauung. Obvious examples include the Confederate (battle) flag in the United States, the Red Ensign in Canada, the black-white-red tricolour in Germany, and the orange-white-blue flag of South Africa. Left-wing equivalents include the DDR flag in Germany and the hammer-and-sickle in Russia.

I'm curious as to whether the flag of the Habsburg empire has any similar connotations in contemporary Austria, or indeed Hungary. Would most contemporary citizens of Austria interpret a person flying this flag as having a particular viewpoint? Or would it merely be viewed as a curiosity/eccentricity?

  • 1
    My guess is that it would not be used in Hungary for irredentist purposes because they have their own coat of arms and flag of the earlier (independent) Kingdom of Hungary. That old coat of arms later appears on the Austro-Hungarian flag, after the Austrian Empire was defeated by the Prussians in 1866, forcing some political changes. – Fizz Oct 31 '19 at 1:17
  • The FPÖ apparently had some weird ideas about recreating the Austrian Empire of sorts, but I see no mention of them using the Habsburg flag (in that article). Apparently Orban's government was sympathetic to FPÖ's proposals. – Fizz Oct 31 '19 at 1:29
  • In parts of southern Poland that used to be part of Austria-Hungary (Galicja), it would most likely be seen as a curiosity. There is some nostalgic feeling about those times, because even though Austria was seen as a foreign occupier, it gave the region considerable autonomy. Moreover, Polish culture could flourish there to a much greater degree than in areas occupied by Prussia and Russia. But I don't think anybody would seriously want to recreate new Austria-Hungary there. – michau Oct 31 '19 at 10:52
2

I am not aware of any connotation attached to the display of the Habsburg colours, at least in Austria. The display of the Habsburg flag is highly unlikely to be interpreted as a nationalist statement, rather as an acknowledgement of an area's imperial past. For example, the flag might be displayed at mediaeval fairs such as the "Zeitreise ins Mittelalter Eggenburg" (Time-travel to the middle-ages).

One reason for this is that the Habsburg family is still extant, and still uses the colours; for example at the funeral of Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary in 2011, the coffin was draped with the flag. Current members of the house also use the colours - for example, Ferdinand Habsburg incorporates the scheme on his Formula Renault racing suit.

Another reason is that the black-yellow colour scheme is likely to be confused with the colours of the German region of Swabia - the close proximity of the region to Austria means that this association is more likely.

enter image description here

Finally, contemporary Austrian nationalist sentiment tends to be associated with the national flag of Austria - see the pictures of adverts for the FPÖ from this article.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    I guess many Austrians, if you would ask them on the street, couldn't even name the Habsburg colours, let alone develop any sentiments upon seeing a Habsburg coloured flag. – Dohn Joe Mar 4 at 16:57
2

It is a conservative statement to carry symbols of the Habsburg monarchy, definitely. But the flag is rarely brandished, unlike the coat of arms, which can be seen sometimes.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .