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The state coat of arms

The state constitution initially only stipulated black and gold as the state colors, but no coat of arms. After much discussion, the members of the state parliament agreed in 1954 on the draft of the graphic artist Fritz Meinhard as the new state coat of arms. Meinhard's design reflected the unity of the young state of Baden-Württemberg

On May 3, 1954, the state parliament passed the “Law on the Coat of Arms of the State of Baden-Württemberg”. The second youngest federal state in the west finally had a sovereign mark. In addition to the large state coat of arms, which is used by the government, the prime minister, the ministries and the representations of the state in Berlin and Brussels, there is also a small state coat of arms. The small state coat of arms is used, among other things, by the state's notaries or on the tax seal of Baden-Württemberg license plates. Up until 2016, the Baden-Württemberg logo was a non-sovereign symbol in addition to the two official coats of arms. This has since been abolished.

The great national coat of arms

The state coat of arms is reminiscent of the high medieval era between 1079 and 1268. At that time, the Staufers, who are based in southwest Germany, ruled the Duchy of Swabia and determined the history of the German Kingdom from here. The coat of arms of the Staufer Duchy of Swabia lives on in the golden shield of the large state coat of arms. It shows three striding black lions with red tongues. The golden shield is supported by a deer and a mythical animal, the griffin. The deer is the heraldic animal of Württemberg and the griffin is the heraldic animal of Baden. In the large state coat of arms they not only represent the two largest parts of the state, they are also the symbolic guardians of the state of Baden-Württemberg and its constitution.

In the large state coat of arms, a crown with six historical plaques rests on the shield. These represent the most important southwest German territories between the Middle Ages and the end of the Old Empire. In the middle of the crown of the coat of arms are the raised coat of arms of Baden and Württemberg. The Baden family coat of arms, a red sloping bar in gold, has been traceable since 1207. The Württemberg counterpart, three black stag poles lying on top of each other in a golden shield, since 1228.

On the left in the crown of the coat of arms of the large state coat of arms, the silver-red tips of the "Franconian rake" can be seen for the Duchy of Eastern Franconia, in which the Hohenstaufen powers were. In what is now Baden-Württemberg, the Heilbronn-Hohenlohe region belongs to Eastern Franconia. Other parts are now in Bavaria (Würzburg area) and in the Hennenberger Land in what is now Thuringia.

The region around Sigmaringen belonged to Prussia until after the Second World War. Therefore, in addition to the Franconian rake, there is the silver and black quartered “Zollernschild” for the Hohenzollern region, which has been documented since 1248.

Another part of today's Baden-Württemberg are parts of the Electoral Palatinate. The heraldic animal of the Electoral Palatinate, the red crowned golden lion in black, can therefore also be found in the crown of the coat of arms.

It is no coincidence that the right coat of arms of the coat of arms is reminiscent of the Austrian flag. Parts of the Breisgau, the upper Neckar, the upper Danube, Oberschwabens and the Westallgäu belonged partly to Upper Austria until 1805. For this reason, the red-silver-red shield of Austria can be found on the right in the crown of the coat of arms.

The small state coat of arms

Only the shield with three lions can be found on the small state coat of arms. Shield holder, coat of arms crown and skirting board are missing. Instead of establishing a historical territorial reference, it stands for the sovereignty of the people. It is vaulted by a crown of leaves called the “people's crown”. It was introduced in the German states after 1918 as a symbol of popular sovereignty and replaced the monarchical crowns over the coat of arms.

Notes on the use of the national coat of arms

When the law reforming the coat of arms law came into force on October 31, 2015, the legal situation regarding the use of the state coat of arms in Baden-Württemberg has changed. The previously applicable law on the coat of arms of the state of Baden-Württemberg of May 3, 1954 and the ordinance of the state government on the use of the state of arms of August 2, 1954 have ceased to be in force. The use of the state coat of arms is now based on the State Signs Act (LHzG). This applies to the following regulations:

Coats of arms are sovereign symbols. For this reason, the large and small state coat of arms may only be used by authorities and certain institutions (Section 3 LHzG). The large state coat of arms is used by the state parliament, the parliamentary groups and members of parliament, the prime minister, the state government, the ministries, the state representations to the federal government and the European Union in Brussels, the state court, the highest courts of the state, the audit office , the regional councils, the state commissioner for data protection and the persons commissioned by the state government for certain areas of responsibility. All other state authorities and courts as well as the notaries bear the small state coat of arms.

Without a permit, the state coat of arms may only be used for media reporting, teaching and civic education, for cultural projects with the participation of the state, for artistic or heraldic-scientific purposes and in connection with projects financially supported by the state, in order to indicate funding.

Freedom of approval always presupposes that the state coat of arms is not used in a way that is detrimental to its reputation and dignity. In addition, the use of the state coat of arms must not give the impression of sovereign action. In addition, the state coat of arms must not be used for commercial purposes.

Any use of the state coat of arms that goes beyond the described permit-free use requires the approval of the Ministry of the Interior. This approval is usually refused because the state coat of arms is associated with sovereign action. After handling in the past few years, the granting of a permit is ruled out in particular if the state coat of arms is to be used by non-governmental agencies for private business purposes. The use of the state coat of arms in a modified or stylized form, which can lead to confusion with the state coat of arms, is not permitted without the consent of the Ministry of the Interior.

The improper use of the state coat of arms or parts of the state coat of arms as well as the use of a sign that is confusingly similar to the state coat of arms constitute administrative offenses that can be punished with a fine.