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Protocol Office Article 2012.04.01 For­eign flags dis­played on pri­vate and busi­ness premis­es

There are no federal regulations concerning the use of foreign flags by private individuals or businesses in Germany; international companies and chains, for example, are free to express their sympathy with foreign countries by hoisting their flags. 

However, those countries may apply restrictions or prohibitions to the use of their flags. In case of doubt, individuals and businesses should enquire at the relevant country’s diplomatic mission in Germany. 

According to Section 104 of the Criminal Code, "Violation of flags and state symbols of foreign states”, (1) Whosoever removes, destroys, damages, renders unrecognizable or insults by mischief a flag of a foreign state, which is displayed according to legal provisions or recognized custom, or a state symbol of such a state which has been publicly installed by a recognized mission of such state, shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine. (2) The attempt shall be punishable.” Further, the Act on Administrative Offences (OWiG) protects the coat of arms of the Swiss Confederation. According to Section 25 (2) of the Act on Administrative Offences, using the coat of arms of the Swiss Confederation without authorization constitutes an administrative offence.



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