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Netherlands' vs Luxembourg's tricolour

Last modified: 2011-02-05 by editor unassigned
Keywords: netherlands | luxembourg | tricolour |
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Differences between flags of Netherlands and Luxembourg

The two are quite identical. According to "holy texts," the Netherlands' flag has a 2:3 ratio while the classical ratio of Luxembourg's is 3:5. The problem arises because Luxembourg's flag is also used with 1:2 ratio and (worse), a 2:3 one, the same of the Netherlands' flag! Moreover, the nuance of blue is defined as "cobalt blue" for both the flags, even if in Luxembourg's flag it is often lighter than in that of the Netherlands'.

Giuseppe Bottasini, 15 March 1995

Until 1890, the king of the Netherlands and the grand-duke of Letzeburg were one person. I'd guess that the flag colors come from the coat-of-arms of Letzeburg: barry argent and azure, a lion gules.

Anton Sherwood, 15 March 1995

The flags are of the Netherlands and of Luxembourg (as they are known internationally) are similar, but not the same, and it's just a coincidence, nothing to do with having any common origin. As Anton Sherwood pointed out the colours of Luxembourg are derived from the coat of arms. Recently the blue has been defined as 299 in the Pantone Matching System, unlike the 286 blue in the flag of the Netherlands. It was laid down some time ago that the proportions of the flag would be 3:5 or 1:2, unlike the Dutch flag, which is always 2:3.
However, because the flags still look similar at a distance, the Luxemburgers have a distinct flag for use on civil vessels on the Rhine and elsewhere. It is a banner of the arms.

There is no international system for avoiding flag similarities, and indeed at the United Nations itself there are two pairs of identical flags: Chad and Romania and Monaco and Indonesia. Chad and Romania are absolutely identical, and whilst Monaco and Indonesia have different proportions, this refinement is lost at the UN, where all flags are rendered equal. There have been several occasions in the past when different countries have had similar flags. Until the establishment of the World Vexillological Authority we have to put up with it!

William Crampton, 20 March 1995


The flag of the Netherlands is to the size 2:3 and with blue PMS 286.
The flag of the Luxembourg is to the size 3:5 or 1:2 and with blue PMS 299 (more clear).

Pierre Palac, 28 September 1998


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