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Slovenian National Insignia

Extraordinary historical circumstances have influenced the development and the appearance of the national insignia of the Republic of Slovenia, which therefore reflect the experience of the Slovenian nation over the centuries: the struggle for liberty, against indiscriminate foreign oppression, the struggle to preserve the Slovenian language, which was not given its homeland rights, the struggle for a geographically unified state, and finally, the struggle for basic political and human rights.

National Insignia

Republic of Slovenia Republic of Slovenia

The flag of the Republic of Slovenia consists of the generic Slovenian tricolor and the Slovenian coat of arms in the upper left. The Slovenian tricolor dates back to the "springtime of nations" of 1848 and is based on the flag of the Duchy of Carniola (Kranjska), then the "very notion of Slovenedom". The flag of Carniola derives its white-blue-red combination from the colors of the Carniolan coat of arms.

The coat of arms of the Republic of Slovenia is in the form of a shield. The shield bears a central image of Mountain Triglav in white on a blue background, with two undulating blue lines below it and three six-pointed golden stars, arranged in an inverted triangle, above it. The shield has a red border. The Slovenian coat of arms is a heraldic composite, combining elements from the coats of arms of the Counts of Celje (golden stars), the Duchy of Carniola (colors) and the Socialist Republic of Slovenia (Mountain Triglav).

Historical Development of the Coat of Arms

Counts of Celje
The coat of arms with three golden six-pointed stars belonged to the noble house of Celje, which hailed from Žovnek and was first mentioned in the medieval annals around 1130. In the succeeding centuries, it went on to create an influential realm, establishing control over most of the Slovenian territories by 1436. At that time, the family's court in the city of Celje was the focal point of humanist thought and renaissance on Slovenian soil. The assassination of the last male descendant of the Celje dynasty in 1456 brought to an end the period of native rule in the Slovenian lands. From then on and until the 20th century, Slovenians were ruled from abroad by foreigners, most notably by the Habsburgs.

Duchy of Carniola
The coat of arms of Carniola dates back to the 13th century, when it most probably evolved as a combination of the coats of arms of the noble houses of Andechs-Meran (eagle) and Spanheim (red-white checkerboard). In 1463, emperor Frederick III of the house of Habsburg added the golden crown to the eagle and replaced the white in the shield and the checkered crescent with gold. In 1836, emperor Ferdinand I restored the original white color to the shield and recognized the white-blue-red combination as the official Carniolan color scheme. Under the Habsburgs, the Duchy of Carniola was the main Slovenian-populated crownland, and the white, blue and red from its coat of arms (the shield, the eagle and the crescent) were adopted as the Slovenian national colors in 1848. Abandoned after 1918, with the passing of the Duchy of Carniola, the coat of arms was briefly resurrected from 1943 to 1945 as the symbol of the Slovenian auxilliary Axis forces.

Socialist Republic of Slovenia
The coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia evolved from the Slovenian Liberation Front emblem, designed by Edo Ravnikar during World War II. It incorporates the stylized images of Triglav (the ancient Slovenian three-peaked mountain-deity symbol) and of the Adriatic Sea. The recovery of Slovenia's access to the sea, through the liberation of the Slovenian Littoral from the foreign yoke, was one of the stated goals of the Slovenian Partisan movement. The author of the socialist coat of arms, which was formally adopted in 1947, was Branko Simčič. Of interest is the inclusion of linden leaves on the golden sheaves of wheat. The linden leaf has been a symbol of Slovenian national aspirations since the 19th century.

Republic of Slovenia
The coat of arms of the present-day Republic of Slovenia is a heraldic composite, incorporating the stars of the Counts of Celje, the Slovenian national colors and the image of Triglav. The coat of arms became official on 24 June 1991, when the Slovenian Assembly adopted Amendment C(100) to the 1974 Constitution, and replaced the old insignia with the new ones on the eve of independence. The coat of arms was designed by Marko Pogačnik, an avant-garde artist-sculptor. In addition to its rich heraldic background, it therefore boasts a detailed explanation by its author.

Historical Development of the Flag

The flag of the Duchy of Carniola, in use from 1848 to 1918 and briefly during World War II.

The generic Slovenian tricolor, based on the flag of Carniola, in use from the mid-19th century to the present.

The flag of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, in use from World War II to 1991.

The flag of the present-day Republic of Slovenia, officially adopted on 24 June 1991 by the Slovenian Assembly. The flag was first hoisted during a ceremony in Ljubljana on 26 June 1991, one day after the proclamation of independence.


  • Grafenauer, Bogo. 1988. "Celjski grofje." In Enciklopedija Slovenije, 2nd volume, pp. 12-15. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
  • Grafenauer, Bogo. 1991. "Kranjska." In Enciklopedija Slovenije, 5th volume, pp. 389-391. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
  • Heimer, Željko. "Slovenia." In The Flags and Arms of the Modern Era.
  • Krese, Srečko. 1990. Naprej, zastava slave. Celje: Mohorjeva družba.
  • Kristan, Ivan. 1989. "Grb Socialisticne republike Slovenije." In Enciklopedija Slovenije, 3rd volume, pp. 378-379. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
  • Otorepec, Božo. 1989. "Grb." In Enciklopedija Slovenije, 3rd volume, pp. 377-378. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
  • Pogačnik, Marko. 1995. "Slovene National Symbols." In The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, pp. 45-46. Ljubljana: The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.
  • Žižmund, Uroš. "Slovenian Flag on Old Postcards." In Slovenian Flag.

Andrej Benedejčič, Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the UN