The modern Slovenian flag has been in use since April 1848, when it was first raised by Lovro Toman in Ljubljana during the turbulent political upheaval that were sweeping Central and Eastern Europe. Toman’s demonstration was part of an effort to demonstrate the sovereignty of Slovenia in response to a German flag that had been raised over a local castle. In a surprise move, the Austro-Hungarian authorities formally recognized the flag despite holding a policy that tricolors were a symbol of revolution against the state.
Sometimes referred to as a tricolor, the modern Slovenian flag consists of three bands of white, blue and red. A coat of arms is superimposed over the bands and features an image of Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the country. Below the peak are two waves, which represent the Adriatic Sea and other rivers in Slovenia. Three golden stars, each with six points, are printed above the image of the mountain and represent the part of the coat of arms of one of Slovenia’s great dynastic houses, the Counts of Celje, who ruled part of the territory in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The Slovenian flag raised in 1848 lacked a coat of arms. After World War II and the creation of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, a red five-pointed star was added to the blue band of the flag. In 1991, the flag was redesigned and the current format was introduced. The coat of arms used today was designed by Marko Pogacnik, a prominent Slovenian artist who drew on the history of the country when creating the new flag. There are several variations of the flag, such as for the Slovenian President or the Chief of the General Staff, but all of them bear the coat of arms seen on the main flag.
Several proposed changes to the Slovenia flag were suggested in 2003, one of which would change the horizontal bands to vertical ones to differentiate the Slovenian flag from the current flags of Russia and Slovakia, both of which are tricolors with horizontal stripes. However, this did not prove popular and today the existing design of the Slovenian flag is seen as a celebration of Slovenian culture, history and landscape.