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Command and Rank flags (The Netherlands)

Commando- en onderscheidingsvlaggen

Last modified: 2012-03-31 by andrew weeks
Keywords: rank | army | navy |
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Introduction

In the Dutch navy there is a distinction between command flags (indicating a function) and rank flags (indicating a rank). The designs are similar, but the former have proportions 1:1, the latter 2:3.
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

Command flags

Admiral (Admiraal)

[Command flag Admiral] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

An Admiral has two crossed batons in the red stripe near the hoist of the tricolour. I think each baton has five lions on it.
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 16 and 20 September 1998

Dutch navy regulations VVKM 9 (official flag regulations for the Dutch navy) don't give the exact size of the bâtons, just the position of the center. This is at half the height of the red stripe and at one quarter of the flag length.
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

Note that the rank of Admiral in the Netherlands navy is equivalent to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in other navies, while the rank of Lieutenant-Admiral in the Netherlands navy is equivalent to the rank of Admiral in other navies.

Since the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established in 1815, there have only been two Admirals (of the fleet).
The first was Prince Frederik, second son of King Willem I, who was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 1 January  1830. In 1840 he laid down all his functions, after his father abdicated.
The second was Prince Hendrik 'de Zeevaarder' ('the Seaman'), third son of King Willem II. He was promoted to the rank of Admiral on his deathbed on 7 january 1879, six days before he died. He was promoted by his brother King Willem III as a reward for his naval career.
Source: Luc Eekhout, "Het Admiralenboek; De vlagofficieren van de Nederlandse marine 1382-1991", Amsterdam, 1992.
Mark Sensen, 12 Oct 2003


Lieutenant-Admiral (Luitenant-Admiraal)

[Command flag Lieutenant-Admiral] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

A Lieutenant-Admiral has four (placed 2 and 2) white six-pointed stars in the red stripe near the hoist of the tricolour. After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points. Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 16 September 1998

Dutch navy regulations VVKM 9 (official flag regulations for the Dutch navy) don't give the exact position of the stars, just the size. These are 2/15th of the flag height, except 1/10th for so called "Size A" flags which are used on sloops and motor vehicles. These are 30x45 cm. for rank flags and don't exist for command flags. I think the latter is logical, I don't think there are flag officers commanding a sloop or a car...
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

But it is at least theoretically possible that the flag officer commanding a squadron could be temporarily flying his flag in a
sloop, if the R.Nl.N. follows the same practice used in the British and US Navies: that an embarked flag officer's flag flies only in the vessel in which he is physically present.
Joe McMillan, 25 Jul 2002


Vice-Admiral (Vice-Admiraal)

[Command flag Vice-Admiral] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

A Vice-Admiral has three (1 and 2) white six-pointed stars in the red stripe near the hoist of the tricolour.
After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 16 September 1998


Rear-Admiral (Schout bij Nacht)

[Command flag Rear-Admiral] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

A Rear-Admiral has two (side by side) white six-pointed stars in the red stripe near the hoist of the tricolour.
After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 16 September 1998

This function has a very distinctive name in Dutch not comparable to a term in any other language (at least as far as I know): "schout-bij-nacht" (literally: "sheriff at night" or "looks out at night")..
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002


Commodore (commandeur)

[Command flag Commodore] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

A Commodore (Dutch: commandeur) has one white six-pointed star in the red stripe near the hoist of the tricolour.
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 16 September 1998


Captain commanding a squadron (Eskader Kapitein)

[Captain commanding a squadron] image by Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003

A Captain commanding a squadron has a square swallow-tailed tricolour.
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 17 September 1998

Captain in charge of a Group or Area: Square swallow-tailed Dutch tricolour, the cut at the fly reaching to the center of the flag.
Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003


Rank flags (Onderscheidingsvlaggen)

Admiral or Field Marshall (Admiraal of Veldmaarschalk)

[Rank flag Admiral or Field Marshall] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

I think each baton has five lions on it.
Mark Sensen, 20 September 1998

Dutch navy regulations VVKM 9 (official flag regulations for the Dutch navy) don't give the exact size of the bâtons, just the position of the center. This is at half the height of the red stripe and at one quarter of the flag length.
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

It seems the rank and command flags for the army (Field Marshall, General, Lieutenant-General and General-Major) are no longer in use, probably already for quite a long time (I guess since around WWII or so).
Mark Sensen, 12 Oct 2003


Lieutenant-Admiral or General (Luitenant-Admiraal of Generaal)

[Rank flag Lieutenant-Admiral or General] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Mark Sensen, 20 September 1998

Dutch navy regulations VVKM 9 (official flag regulations for the Dutch navy) don't give the exact position of the stars, just the size. These are 2/15th of the flag height, except 1/10th for so called "Size A" flags which are used on sloops and motor vehicles. These are 30x45 cm. for rank flags and don't exist for command flags. I think the latter is logical, I don't think there are flag officers commanding a sloop or a car...
Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

There exists a photo of Lieutenant-Admiral (Conrad) Helfrich standing in front of his car, with his rank flag with the four stars five-pointed instead of six-pointed. He was commander of the forces in the Netherlands Indies/the Far East 1939-1942/1942-1946. Most likely this flag was locally made in Australia, Ceylon or so, after description only.
Mark Sensen, 12 Oct 2003


Vice-Admiral or Lieutenant-General (Vice-admiraal of Luitenant-generaal)

[Rank flag Vice-Admiral or Lieutenant-General] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Mark Sensen, 20 September 1998


Rear-Admiral or General-Major (Schout-bij-nacht of Generaal-majoor)

[Rank flag Rear-Admiral or General-Major] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Mark Sensen, 20 September 1998


Commodore

[Rank flag Commodore] image by Mark Sensen, 24 Jul 2002

Commodore (Dutch: commandeur) - After WWII each star was rotated 90 degrees; nowadays they have 1 point pointing upward, before 2 points.
Mark Sensen, 20 September 1998


Senior officer (Oudste officier)

[Senoir officer]image by Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003

The senior officer uses in addition a triangular tricolor (2:3) in the national colors (who touch each other in the point at the fly).
Adopted for the last time by Order in Council 31 August 1956 No. 46.
Mark Sensen, 17 September 1998


Flotilla commander (Flottielje commandant)

[Flotilla commander]image by Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003

A Flotilla commander uses a red triangular flag with a white "F".
Mark Sensen, 17 September 1998

These letters are stylised, they don't have roundings but are made of stripes placed at 45 degrees of each other. The letters are 18/40th of the flag height high. The "F" is 9/40th of the flag height wide, the "D" and "S" 12/40th. The stripes of the letters are 3/40th of the flag height thick. The letters are placed with the edge at 6/40th of the flag height from the hoist, and vertically centered.
Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003


Squadron commander (Eskadron commandant)

[Squadron commander] image by Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003

A Squadron commander uses a white triangular flag with a red "S".
Mark Sensen, 17 September 1998


Division commander (Divisie commandant)

[]image by Mark Sensen, 14 Apr 2003

A Division commander uses a blue triangular flag with a yellow "D".
Mark Sensen, 17 September 1998


Other

And I have another pennant, yellow with black "D" identified as minor fleet or group command. Is currently in use? When was adopted?

Finally I have drawn several rank flags. Please say me if they are in use currently:

  • Defense Minister (after 1972; previously exist at less two flags for Marine Minister and War Minister)
  • Minister
  • State Secretary of the Marine
  • State Secretary of War
  • Chief of the staff
  • Superintendent
  • General Command of the Nederland zone
  • Corp command
  • Division Command
  • Artillery division command
  • Infantry command
  • Territorial Command of the western command
  • Territorial Command of North IJssel
  • Chief of the Defense staff
  • Chief of the Air Staff
  • Air Defense command
  • Tactical Air civil command
  • Diplomatic corps
Jaume Ollé, 20 September 1998