National emblem

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National emblem of the Sri Lankan Police

Under an emblem (also territorial emblem or territorial symbol ) is an object to represent a state authority understood that by the state has been set legitimate for this purpose. Among the state emblems as are state symbols , the national flag , the national emblem and the national anthem . Because state sovereignty is exercised by the federal government , the member states and the municipalities in the form of state and municipal authorities and organs , the use of the emblems is usually reserved for the latter. In Germany only the national flag and the national anthem are excluded.

Forms and functions of national emblems

A national emblem is usually embodied by flags , flags , coats of arms , badges (e.g. sleeve crests ) and official seals .

National emblems are a means of state self-expression and national identification . They mark and represent the respective state and its public authority legitimized by law . As a rule, they declare the object or subject to which they refer or to which they are attached as a legal matter, property or official or official of the respective state.

National emblems on military aircraft are called aircraft cockades (rarely also aircraft insignia). They are usually kept in the national colors of the respective state. In the English language they are called Roundel .

In Switzerland, the country code in aircraft license plates is referred to as a national emblem .

Regulations in individual countries


Constitutionally in Germany on the federal level, only the colors of the flag controlled ( Art. 22 para. 2 GG). The design of the national and official flags and the other federal symbols are regulated by the Federal President's orders .

In the Federal Republic of Germany , public disparagement of national emblems can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years in accordance with Section 90a, Paragraph 1, No. 2 of the Criminal Code . Likewise, the unauthorized use, malicious removal and misuse of a national emblem are punishable or unlawful. The commercial use of national emblems as trademarks is not permitted according to Section 8 of the Trademark Act . Section 104 of the Criminal Code protects foreign national emblems against damage and denigration under criminal law.


In the Republic of Austria , public denigration of national emblems can be punished with imprisonment for up to six months in accordance with Section 248 (2) StGB . The unauthorized use and misuse of a national emblem are also punishable. The degradation of foreign symbols is prosecuted according to § 317 StGB.

United States

In the USA, on the other hand, the Supreme Court defended the burning of the flag as a protected freedom of expression against attempts by the US Congress to criminalize it .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Section 248 of the Criminal Code , Legal Information System of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, accessed on February 2, 2014.

Web links

Commons : National emblem  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: national emblems  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations