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Latvia

Latvija, Latvijas Republika, Republic of Latvia

Last modified: 2013-11-21 by zoltán horváth
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image by Željko Heimer, 8 April 2002


Official Name: Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republika)
Capital: Riga
Location: Baltic Eastern Europe
Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy
Flag adopted: 27 February 1990
Coat of arms adopted: 27 February 1990
ISO Code: LV


See also:

Regional Flags:

Other sites:


The National Flag (Latvijas valst un tirzniecibas karogs)

According to the Constitution the flags is "red with a white stripe". In fact it is not really red but almost brown.
giuseppe bottasini

Dr. Karlis Ulmanis, first Prime Minister and last President of Latvia before the Soviet invasion in 1940 described the meaning of the colors thus:

"Our red-white-red colors! What do they tell him who loves his native country ardently? White stands for right and truth, the honor of free citizens and trustworthiness. But the red reminds us of the blood that has been shed in the recent past. It has been shed at all times in the remote past and we are ready to offer it again for freedom and independence, for our nation and country."

Source:The Flag Bulletin VIII:3, Published by the Flag Research Center, Box 580, Winchester, Mass 01890 USA, Summer 1969, ISSN 0015-3370
Dave Martucci, 2 September 1996

According to "Flags of All Nations" by Cleveland H. Smith and Gertrude R. Taylor (Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1946; pg.101):

"The Letts used the juice of berries to make the crimson for their original flag. Latvian poets say that the red in the flag indicates the readiness of the Latvians to give blood of their hearts for their freedom, which was represented by the white in the flag."

Dave Martucci, 6 September 1996

Color used for Latvian flag is defined as "carmine-red". It means something dark brick red. Some colorists define color as dark cherry red. Our company uses 0,100,90,40 (for printig on fine quality paper). Officialy colors aren't standardized in any system.
Gvido Petersons, 29 June 1999

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CS-/C-- 1:2) - Red-white-red triband, ratio of struipes 2+1+2. Latvians still call it simply red, at least in legislation.
Željko Heimer, 8 April 2002

I came across a company's website (<www.karogufabrika.lv>), where they list the official color of the "Latvian red" as PMS 1807C. This color was apprently chosen by the Heraldic Commission back in 1995 (April 11th). The page also give the official specs as well as a list of flag flying holidays in Latvia.
Ivan Sache, 25 April 2002

"Expatica" reports on 26 February 2009 a government issue on the colour of the Latvian flag.
"[...]   Part of the Latvian government is turning its attention to whether the national flag is the right colour.
The Baltic state's foreign ministry has noticed that several different shades of red are being used on flags that are commercially available.
As a result, it is proposing the establishment of a "national symbols commission" which would regulate the quality of flags and their compliance with uniform standards.
"The intention is to set up a commission that would regulate the exact size, shape and colour of the flag," said a foreign ministry spokesman. "It is important that exactly the right Pantone colour is used -- the dark red that we call Latvian red.”
The spokesman said there is also a plan to introduce an official pennant, similar to those in many of the Scandinavian countries. “This would prevent flagpoles being empty for much of the year.”
Some foreign diplomats eager to observe correct protocol have been confused by the variety of "Latvian" flags and the symbols commission could also encourage the use of the European Union flag alongside the national flag on government buildings, the spokesman added. The commission would have the power to restrict what could be sold as a Latvian flag and would issue permits to certified flag makers.
Ivan Sache, 27 February 2009


National Flag at the London 2012 Olympics

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Latvia: PMS 1807. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012


Construction Sheet


image by António Martins-Tuvįlkin, 14 September 2010

I resampled and recolored the construction sheet.
António Martins-Tuvįlkin, 14 September 2010


Color Variations


image by António Martins-Tuvįlkin, 14 September 2010

The flag of Latvia, simple as it is, presents two distinct features that make it rather unique among national flags: Its unusual shade of dark red, and the arrangement of the stripes as a horizontal unequal triband, simple (2+1+2) yet distinct. Such uniqueness lends itself to variant depictions and offsprung flags, such as the following:
During the Singing Revolution that resulted the break-away from the Soviet Union in 1990, in street demonstrations for it, the 1921-1939 flag was brought back to popular use, but often the fabric used was regular medium red, the same as that of Soviet flags or the bottom stripe of the pre-WW2 Lithuanian flag, often flown along.
(Note that even during the Singing Revolution this incorrect color was not exclusive, maybe not even majority: See some contemporary photos:
http://www.lvarhivs.gov.lv/Praga68/jpg/4-5-5.jpg  and http://www.lvarhivs.gov.lv/Praga68/jpg/4-8-11.jpg from http://www.lvarhivs.gov.lv/Praga68/index.php?id=1040)
Although this error seems to have disappeared from Latvia itself, due to raised awareness and better access to coloring and textile technology, it still pops up here and there randomly, often due to perpetuated mistakes based on secondary sources.
There are at least two official postage stamps showing this medium red wrong version: Bulgarian 2001 stamp of 0,24 (Michel B249; FotW Nº 02507) http://www.lituanicaonstamps.com/images/bulgarija2001natosuvaziavim.jpg http://www.lituanicaonstamps.com/images/bulgarija2001natoLTveliava.jpg and Polish 1987 (?) 50 z³ stamp (FotW Nº 02565).
This flag variant resampled version of this one.
António Martins-Tuvįlkin, 14 September 2010


Latvia Pennant


image by Zachary Harden, 15 March 2010

Latvia has also adopted a vimpel but I am not certain when it was adopted or what regulations it has. The information, including the construction sheet, is at <www.saeima.lv> (Latvian only). The ratio is 5x17x1 and the portions of 2:1:2 is kept throughout the banner.
Zachary Harden, 15 March 2010


Flag Names in Latvian

Latvijas valsts un tirzniecības karogs = National and merchant flag
Valsts prezidenta standarts = President's standard
Ministru prezidenta karogs = Prime minister flag
Sūtņa karogs = Ambassador flag
Konsula karogs = Consul flag
Kara ministra karogs = War minister flag
Armijas virspavēlnieka karogs = Chief of latvian army flag
Admirāļa karogs = Admiral flag
Ostas valdes karogs = Harbour administration flag
Muitas valdes karogs = Customs flag
Kara kuģu karogs = Warship flag
Cietokšņa un kara kuģu bugspritkarogs = Warship bowsflag
Pasta karogs = Post flag
Hidrogrāfijas kuģa karogs = Survey vessel flag
Loču karogs = Harbour pilots flag
Jūras kapteiņa komandvimpelis = Commander pennon
Kara kuģu vimpelis = Warship pennon

Guy Babonneau, 12 March 2001 and Gvido Petersons, 8 June 2001


Official Flag Days in Latvia

There are official Flag days in Latvia (days when houseowner should wear flag in front of house).
Note: (M) - means mourn (black ribbon) .
The flag days are:
- February 16 - Lietuvas Republikas neatkarības diena - Independence day of Lithuania.
- February 24 - Igaunijas Republikas neatkarības diena - Independence day of Estonia.
- March 25 - Komunistiskā genocīda upuru piemiņas diena (S) - Commemoration Day of Victims of Communist Terror  (M)
- May 1 - LR Satversmes sapulces sasaukšanas diena (1920). Darba svētki - Convocation of the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of Latvia (1920). Labour Day.
- May 4 - LR Neatkarības deklarācijas pasludināšanas diena (1990) - Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia. (1990)
- Juny 14 - Komunistiskā genocīda upuru piemiņas diena (S) - Commemoration Day of Victims of Communist Terror. (M)
- Juny 17 - Latvijas Republikas okupācijas diena (S) - Occupation of the Republic of Latvia. (M)
- July 4 - Ebreju tautas genocīda upuru piemiņas diena (S) - Commemoration Day of Genocide against the Jews. (M)
- August 21 - Konstitucionālā likuma “Par Latvijas Republikas valstisko statusu” pieņemšanas un Latvijas Republikas faktiskās neatkarības atjaunošanas diena - Passing of the Constitutional Law on the Status of the Republic of Latvia as a State and Actual Restoration of the Republic of Latvia.
- November 11 - Lāčplēša diena - Latvian Freedom Fighters’ Remembrance Day - Lacplesis Day.
- November 18 - Latvijas republikas proklamēšanas diena (1918) - Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia. (1918)
- December 7 (first Sunday) - Pret latviešu tautu vērstā totalitārā komunistiskā režīma genocīda upuru piemiņas diena (S) - Commemoration Day of Victims of Genocide Against the Latvian People by the Totalitarian Communist Regime. (M)

Every house or office building must wear flag. There is also penalty (until 50 Ls - ~90 USD) for not displaying flag in days mentioned above or displaying wrong, corrupt, dirty, without ribbon, wrong mast or staff.
More details at see <www.latinst.lv>
Gvido Petersons, 9 January 2003