by Sherri Smith
The flag of Switzerland is a red square with a white cross in the center of the flag. It was adopted from the flag of the Swiss canton of Schwyz (one of the first three Swiss cantons.) The flag was officially adopted as the flag of Switzerland on December 12, 1889; however, the design dates back to about 1480, which is long before Switzerland was even formed.
The flag of Switzerland stands for freedom, honor, and fidelity. An interesting thing to note is that the Swiss National Flag and the flag of the Vatican are the only square national flags. Additionally, for centuries, the Swiss people identified themselves with their cantons (regions). During the industrial age of the 19th and 20th centuries, there was huge migration inside Switzerland and many Swiss citizens could no longer identify with a specific canton, thus the national flag became more visible.
Another interesting fact is that when the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded to be a neutral institution to take care of the military or civil persons injured in war on the initiative of Henri Dunant and a Swiss general Dufour in 1864. Dufour proposed the reversal of the flag as an emblem. So the Red Cross flag is an inverted version of the flag of Switzerland.
The official use of the flag is to be displayed on federal, cantonal, and municipal buildings; however, there is no uniform pattern or regulation to its use. In private use, the flag is often shown as a display of patriotism and flown together with the cantonal and municipal flags.