About the Berlin flag

The flag of Berlin has three stripes of red-white-red, the two outer stripes each occupying a fifth of its height, the middle the remaining three fifths. It is defaced with a bear in the case of the civil flag, and the coat of arms of Berlin on the state flag.

The civil flag of West Berlin was adopted on 26 May 1954. Designed by Ottfried Neubecker, it came in second in the contest of 1952, the winner being rejected by the Senate. The emblem of the bear is apparently a pun on the city's name (Bar meaning Bear), and there have been suggestions that it is a little bear (Barlein bearing a resemblance to Berlin). The bear is placed slightly to the left. It became the flag of the whole city after the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The state flag replaces the bear with the full coat of arms, with escutcheon. Being the state flag for West Berlin, it similarly became the flag for unified Berlin in 1990. Previously to that, it had also been a naval ensign on the basis that neither German one could be used. It is in the proportion 3:5.

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