Bosnia and Herzegovina
UseNational flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Reverse side is mirror image of obverse side
Adopted4 February 1998; 26 years ago (1998-02-04) (updated 10 August 2001)[1]
DesignA medium blue field with a yellow right triangle separating said field; along the hypotenuse of the triangle, there are seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars at the top and bottom of the flag.
Designed byMladen Kolobarić [de]. The flag was proclaimed by the High Representative Carlos Westendorp
The flag of ARBiH, the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the flag of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina flying in front of the grave of Alija Izetbegović.

The flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbo-Croatian: zastava Bosne i Hercegovine / застава Босне и Херцеговине) contains a medium blue field with a yellow right triangle separating said field, and there are seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars top and bottom along the hypotenuse of the triangle.

The three points of the triangle stand for the three main ethnic groups (or "constituent peoples") of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs.[2] The triangle represents the approximate shape of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3]

The stars, representing Europe, are meant to be infinite in number and thus they continue from top to bottom. The flag features colors often associated with neutrality and peace – white, blue, and yellow. They are also colors traditionally associated with Bosnian culture and history.[3] The blue background is evocative of the flag of Europe.[4][5]

The Bosnian national flag is often used also for official purposes by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the constituent entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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Bosnian Banate from 1154 until 1377

Used by Stjepan II Kotromanic.

Bosnian Kingdom from 1377 until 1463

The flag of the Kingdom of Bosnia was based on coat of arms of the Bosnian dynasty Kotromanić, king Tvrtko I and his successors. The flag of medieval Bosnia was white with the coat of arms of the Kotromanić dynasty in the middle which consisted of a blue shield with six gold fleur de lys displayed around a white bend.

Western Herzegovina 1760 flag

The green flag with the white crescent and star pointing to the left was used by Bosniak landlords in border parts in southern and western Herzegovina. The flag was most commonly used in wars. It also accompanied the troops of the Eyalet of Bosnia during the second siege of Khotyn in Moldavia. It differs from Ottoman flag by size and direction of crescent, as well as its swallow-shape, similar to some West-European jacks and ensigns.

Bosnian Revolt of 1830s flag

In the 1830s revolt by Husein Gradaščević the green flag with a yellow crescent and star was used. The revolt's aim was for Bosnia to gain autonomy from the Ottoman Empire.

Austro-Hungarian rule

When the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina the flag was changed. The province of Bosnia used a flag that was red and yellow horizontally, but the province of Herzegovina used the same flag but with reversed colors (yellow and red).

The coat of arms is one of Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, Bosnian noble and duke from 14th century. The original medieval coat of arms had a white background and two red stripes in the top of the shield. It was Similar to the old flag of the Western Bosnian Flag.

Yugoslav period

During the interwar period Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina had neither a status within it nor a flag to go with. It was not until after World War II in Yugoslavia and disestablishment of the monarchy that this changed, as Bosnia and Herzegovina became its own republic within the newly established federal Yugoslavia.[6]

Without constitutional recognition, the mid-war Federal State of Bosnia and Herzegovina first adopted the flag flown by Bosnian-Herzegovinian Partisans during the war—a wholly red flag with a narrowly gold-bordered red star in its centre, both symbolizing socialism and communism.[6] The flag was usually accompanied on official buildings by the flag of the federal Yugoslavia and the flag of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. A smaller version of the flag served as the civil ensign while an elongated banner version was seen flown in front of the Yugoslav parliament.[citation needed]

Wide public discussion ahead of constitutional adoption resulted in the overall opinion that the state flag should be red, like the one initially flown by liberation movements, and not in national pan-Slavic tricolors of Serbs and Croats which were argued to have been an "import" from a later stage of the war.[6] This discussion was in response to the first proposed flag from 15 November 1946, which matched the federal flag except with an additional golden star placed behind the existing gold-bordered red star in the centre, with their rays positioned interchangeably. Belgrade officials listened to the public opinion, but proceeded to add the federal Yugoslav tricolor to the canton of a plain red flag to symbolize the republic's affiliation to the Federation, and as such it was officially adopted on 31 December 1946.[6] In the real-world usage, this flag had a variant with a much larger canton which was offset from the edges and bordered in white. This variant was eventually proposed sometime in 1947, but was never adopted.[6]

Bosnia and Herzegovina also had a new coat of arms during Yugoslav rule; it was a symbol of Bosnian industrialism at the time. A red flag with central elements of this coat of arms in the canton was erroneously reported in one contemporary book to have been the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6]

Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1998)

Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag A cemetery in Mostar flying the flag of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (left), the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the flag of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 3 March 1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Initially the newly independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to use the flag of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina until a new flag was adopted on 20 May 1992. The flag picked was the arms of the Kings of Bosnia Kotromanić dynasty, who ruled from 1377 until 1463 over the area that is present day Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dalmatia, consisted of a blue shield with six golden lilies displayed around a white bend; the golden lily is the Lilium bosniacum, which is a native lily to the area. The flag chosen in 1992 has a white background with the Bosnian lily in the center. It was and it still is the main bosniak national flag. Though it is no longer an official flag of the state, the flag continues to be used unofficially by Bosniak civilians as their ethnic flag,[5] used at football games, as part of political rallies, and other such events.[7]

Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton Accords

The Bosnian Serbs, before and after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, viewed the flag with the six fleurs-de-lys as only representing the Bosniaks (i.e. Bosnian Muslims) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The flag of the state was eventually changed into the current, post-1998 flag. The current flag was introduced by the UN High Representative Carlos Westendorp after the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina could not decide on a solution that was acceptable to all parties.[8] Aside from the colors, the current flag contains no historical or other references to the Bosnian state.[5] The flag is rarely ever seen in Republika Srpska,[5] whose residents prefer to fly either that entity's regional flag or the Serbian national flag instead.[5] Some Bosniaks dislike or have no particular affinity for the flag, preferring the former Bosnian national flag used from 1992 to 1998,[5] or the former socialist-era Yugoslav flag instead.[5]

Colors scheme

The official colors of the flag are:[9]

Colors Pantone CMYK RGB Hexadecimal
Blue Reflex Blue C 100, 87, 0, 20 0, 20, 137 #001489
Yellow 116 C 0, 10, 98, 0 255, 205, 0 #FFCD00

Alternative flag proposals

The first flag that was proposed in the First Set of Proposals was the "Czech Pattern", similar to the flag of the Czech Republic. It was intended to represent all three constitutive nations living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The next proposal was the "Laurel branch". It is based on the light blue color of the United Nations Flag. It would have had a golden olive branch in the middle. The olive branch is taken from the United Nations emblem. The flag would have only one branch. The branch was rotated around 30 degrees counterclockwise. The third proposal was the "Map" proposal. It would also use the United Nations light blue color; however, there would be the addition of a white outline map of Bosnia and Herzegovina. No official text was ever published specifying the color of the outline, but it probably would have been white.

The Second Set of Proposals had flags that were truly representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole. The first flag design was a diagonally striped tricolor pattern of red to white to blue (different colors but in the same pattern as the Flag of the Republic of the Congo). In the centre there would be a blue map of Bosnia and Herzegovina outlined in yellow in the middle inside a circle of 10 five-pointed yellow stars. The flag would have been a 1:2 ratio. The second flag proposed was very similar except it had 12 five-pointed stars to represent the European Union. The Flag of Europe has the 12 five-pointed stars. The third design was a bit more different from the first two designs. The diagonal tricolur shape was kept, but the diagonal white stripe was made wider so that the angle was not perfectly 45 degrees. In the center there was a yellow map of Bosnia and Herzegovina outlined in green and under it there were two green olive branches. The olive branch pattern was the same one that the United Nations uses in its flag. The final fourth design was kept the same emblem from the third design, but did not have the diagonal stripes. Instead it had a horizontal tricolor pattern of blue, white, and red (from top to bottom), similar to that of the former Yugoslavia.

The first Westendorp alternative flag was a highly similar one to today's flag, a diagonally divided top-hoist to bottom-fly yellow over light blue flag with line of 9 white five-pointed stars in the light blue field along the diagonal. The only major difference was that the color of the background was UN blue. The second Carlos Westendorp alternative flag is a light blue flag (using the United Nations' flag's colors) with 5 bars interchangeably coming out of hoist and not reaching the other end. The colors are interchangeably yellow and white. In the third alternative flag, the field was light blue and had five narrow yellow bars.

Westendorp's decision ended up being the first alternative flag. However, it was changed slightly to a darker blue, evocative of the European Union's flag.[5]

Flags of administrative divisions

Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

See also


  1. ^ Zakon o zastavi Bosne i Hercegovine (English: Law on the State flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina), published on 3 August 2001 and valid from 10 August 2001; according to the Article 13 of the Law which proclaimed vacatio legis of seven days. Službeni glasnik BiH dated: 10 August 2001) (English: Official Gazette of Bosn. & Herz.) No. 19/01, published on 3 August 2001.
  2. ^ "Outside world chooses new flag for Bosnia". 5 February 1998. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The World Factbook: Field listing flag description". Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ "BBC News | Europe | New flag imposed on Bosnians". Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Lakic, Mladen (6 December 2017). "Bosnia's 'Foreign' Flag Still Draws Mixed Feelings". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Heimer, Željko; Jerlagić, Velid-aga (2006). "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Socialist Yugoslavia)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  7. ^ Obad, Kemal (23 November 2015). "Geopolitical importance of Bosnia-Herzegovina in global relations". Daily Sabah. Turkey. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Outside world chooses new flag for Bosnia". 5 February 1998.
  9. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina".