Flag of Croatia

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The flag of the Republic of Croatia is a national symbol and was officially adopted on December 21, 1990. It consists of three equally-wide horizontal lines of red, white and blue with the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia in the middle.

Flag usage

The flag of the Republic of Croatia is used:

  • Permanently on buildings of all state bodies
  • On national holidays
  • In the days of mourning when it’s lowered halfway on the pole

The flag of Croatia must be visible on ships and other vessels of maritime and inland navigation. It must be displayed in the window of businesses on national holidays. Your business can be fined by the local government if it is not displayed.

The flag may be exhibited at public gatherings (political, scientific, cultural, artistic, sporting and other) held in the Republic of Croatia, as long as its use is not in conflict with provisions of the law.

History of the Croatian Flag

Under the Habsburg Monarchy, some of the countries in the empire had their own coats of arms, but no flags. “Trojednica” refers to the red-white-blue tricolor created in 1848. In the year following, it became an inseparable part of Croatian national identity. The installation flag (a commemorative heavily-decorated flag that is given to the Ban as a gift each year) of Ban Jelačić was the first officially using Croatian tricolor. At the inauguration ceremony of Ban Josip Jelačić in 1848, red, white and blue colors were an integral part of his uniform.

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms is historically Croatian and is located on the Croatian flag. It has a shield shape and is double-divided horizontally and vertically into twenty-five red and white (silver) fields so that the first field in the upper left corner is red color (which is a VERY important detail). Above the main shield there is a crown with five smaller shields, which are connected to the upper part of the shield.

The crown has five smaller shields with historical Croatian crowns, which are arranged from left to right on the shield in this order:

  • The oldest known coat of arms of Croatia
  • Coats of arms of the Dubrovnik Republic
  • Dalmatia
  • Istria
  • Slavonia


The oldest known Croatian coat of arms contains a light blue shield with a yellow (gold) six-pointed star which is a depiction of star Danica (which is a common name for planet Venus) with a white (silver) new moon (the so-called “Leljiva”).

The coat of arms for the Republic of Dubrovnik is made of a dark blue shield with two red horizontal stripes.

The Dalmatian coat of arms has a light blue shield with three yellow (gold) crowned lion heads. In one period of Croatian history, the Dalmatian coat of arms was used as the Croatian coat of arms.

The Istrian Coat of Arms contains a navy shield with a yellow (golden) goat turned to the left with red hoops and horns.

The Slavonian coat of arms is made of a light blue shield with two horizontal white (silver) stripes. In some books, it is described as two rivers (Drava and Sava) encircling Slavonia. Between the stripes is a red field with a marten walking to the left. Word for marten is “kuna” in Croatian, also the name of our currency. This is not a coincidence, as marten felt was used as a form of currency in some parts of Croatia. If you look close enough you’ll see the marten behind the numbers on 1,2 and 5 kuna coins. In the upper blue field is a yellow (golden) six-pointed star. The coat of arms is bordered by a red line.

The law passed in the NDH has determined for the first time what color the first field must be, as well as the field allocation of 5×5 (total 25). It should be noted that the communist coat of arms and other coats that begin with the first white field are forbidden and considered to be Fascist and Nazi. The stigma around this version of the coat of arms remains to this day.

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Expat in Croatia

Sara is an American expat based in Split. After globetrotting between New York, Amsterdam and California, she moved to Croatia in 2012. Sara's blog Expat in Croatia is a guide for foreigners living and traveling in Croatia.