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Flag Societies Around the World

Vexillology (the study of flags) is a comparatively recent addition to the field of knowledge as a separate and distinct discipline. The word is derived from the Latin Vexillum (flag) and the Greek -ology (the study of). Vexillology was first established in an organised form on 1st February 1962, when Dr. Whitney Smith founded the Flag Research Centre in Boston, USA. Since then, flag associations have been established in a steadily growing number of nations.

In 1969, the International Federation of Vexillological Associations was founded as an association of flag groups. It is usually referred to by its French initials: FIAV - Fédération Internationale des Associations Vexillologiques. There were initially 12 members, and there are now 51 member entities, including Flags Australia which was admitted in 1985.

The current office bearers of FIAV are:

President: Željko Heimer, Croatia, pres@fiav.org

Secretary-General: Bruce Berry, South Africa, sec.gen@fiav.org

Secretary-General for Congresses: Graham Bartram - UK, sec.cong@fiav.org

FIAV organises an International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) every two years. The 1st ICV was held in the Netherlands in 1965.  Australians have attended every congress since ICV9 in Ottowa in 1981. ICVs are an opportunity for the world's vexillologists to gather to share their interest and knowledge about flags. The ICV is a week-long event that consists of lectures on a diverse range of flag topics, exhibitions, excursions to flag related sites and simply catching up with friends with a shared interest.

icv26 flag

ICV26 was hosted by Flags Australia in Sydney on 31 August - 4 September 2015. A copy of the original website with full details of the event is located at Sydney Flag Congress. Work is progressing on the publication of the Sydney Congress Proceedings.

The most recent flag congress (ICV28) was held in San Antonio, Texas on 15-19 July 2019, hosted by the Vexillological Association of the State of Texas (VAST) and The Flag Research Center. The event was also the NAVA53 annual meeting. The ICV was called HemisFlag and marked the 50th anniversary of FIAV. The meeting was held at the St. Anthony Hotel. As part of the ICV, there was a visit to the Whitney Smith Flag Research Collection at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

The next flag congress (ICV29) will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia 11 -15 July 2022 and hosted by the Slovenian Vexillology Association (Heraldica Slovenica). ICV29 has been postponed from July 2021 due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions. Registration for the ICV has not yet started. The venue hotel is the 4-star Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, which is near the Old Town. The website is https://www.icv29ljubljana.com/en.  The Wednesday excursion will be to three city museums with flags, and the 13-meter independence flag will be exclusively shown to congress participants. Three 1-day trips will be arranged before and after the ICV to the UNESCO caves in Karst and the Lipizzaner horse stud, to Lake Bled, and to the Slovenian coast.

The following ICV30 will be held in Beijing, China in 2024. This will be hosted by the Vexillological Research Center of China and The Flag Research Center, USA.  ICV31 is likely to be held in Paris in 2026.

Flags Australia has, since 1989, sponsored the Vexillon, which is awarded by FIAV to the person regarded as having made the most important contribution to vexillology during the two years between flag congresses. In 2019 the Vexillon was awarded to Nozomi Kariyasu, of Japan, for his numerous flag books, including Japanese Flags from Ancient Times to Today.

FIAV has recognised the significant contribution to vexillology and service to FIAV of several members of Flags Australia by the award of Fellow of the Federation to:

Ralph Bartlett (2003), Tony Burton (2015), Ted Kaye (2015), Ralph Kelly (2007), Gerald Naughton (2015) and Ron Strachan (2015).

The highest award is that of Laureate of the Federation, based on achieving a flag-related doctorate.  A Flags Australia member, Tracey Mee was made a laureate in 2019 for her thesis on Australian national identity.

In addition, Ralph Kelly's lecture at ICV21 in Buenos Aires in 2005, on flag changes in Latin American flags, was recognised as Best Paper of that Congress.  This award has been renamed The Whitney Smith Award.


Links to other international flag societies

International Federation of Vexillogical Associations - www.fiav.org


Member societies of FIAV that operate a website in English are:

Bandiere Storiche ["Historical Flags", Italy] - http://bandierestoriche.wix.com/bandiereflags

Bulgarian Heraldry and Vexillology Society - http://heraldika-bg.org/indexEN.htm

The Canadian Flag Association - https://www.facebook.com/Canadian-Flag-Association-LAssociation-Canadienne-de-Vexillologie-317266027131/

Chesapeake Bay Flag Association [US]- cbfa.vexillology.info

Conavex: Corporación Nacional de Vexilología de Chile - https://conavexcl.wordpress.com

Croatian Heraldic and Vexillological Association - www.hgzd.hr/en

Flag Data Centre [Czech] - http://www.vexi.info/svi/indexen.php

Flag Heritage Foundation [US] - www.flagheritagefoundation.org

The Flag Institute [United Kingdom]- www.flaginstitute.org

The Flag Research Center [US]- https://flagresearchcenter.wordpress.com

Flags of the World (FOTW) - www.flagspot.net (also at other mirror locations)

Great Waters Association of Vexillology [US]- gwav.tripod.com

Macedonian Heraldry Society - heraldika.org.mk/en

New England Vexillological Association [US] - http://www.nejv.org

North American Vexillological Association [US and Canada]- www.nava.org

Portland Flag Association [US] - www.portlandflag.org

Russian Centre of Vexillology and Heraldry - http://www.vexillographia.ru/ind_eng.htm

Société française de vexillologie - https://drapeaux-sfv.org/?lang=en

Southern African Vexillological Association - www.savaflags.org.za

State Council of Heraldry at the Parliament of Georgia - http://www.heraldika.ge/?lng=eng

The Ukrainian Heraldry Society - http://uht.org.ua/en/

Vexillological Association of the State of Texas [US] - www.texflags.org

Vexillology Ireland [Ireland] - https://flagsireland.wordpress.com


Other member societies of FIAV that operate websites are:

Centro Italiano Studi Vessillologici - www.cisv.it

Ceská vexilogická spolecnost z.s. - http://www.vexilologie.cz/index2.php?a=000&n=0

CIDEC: Fundación Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios Culturales - www.cidecargentina.com

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Flaggenkunde e.V. - www.flaggenkunde.de

Flag Parade Rotterdam Foundation - www.vlaggenparade.nl/?t=2

Heraldica Slovenica [Slovenia] - http://www.heraldica-slovenica.si

Heraldischer Verein "Zum Kleeblatt" von 1888 zu Hannover e.V [Germany] - http://www.zum-kleeblatt.de

Instytut Heraldyczno-Weksylologiczny [Poland] - http://www.albumpolski.pl/IHW_WWW/index.php

Japanese Vexillological Association - https://www.j-flags-java.org

Kevarzhe Vannielouriezh Vreizh [Brittany] - www.drapeauxbretagne.canalblog.com

Nederlandse Vereniging voor Vlaggenkunde - www.vlaggenkunde.nl

Nordisk Flaggselskap [Scandinavia] - www.nordicflagsociety.org

Partioheraldikot r.y. [Finland] - heraldikot.partio.net

Polskie Towarzystwo Weksylogniczne - www.weksylologia.pl

Sociedad Española de Vexilogia [Spain] - www.vexilologia.org

Swiss Society of Vexillology - www.vexilla.ch





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Material Copyright to the Flag Society of Australia Inc and Pennant Advisory Services Pty Limited. Text and illustrations by Ralph Kelly. Web Design by Elizabeth Kelly of ELK Prints.