The flag of Austria has a very basic design of three equal horizontal bands of red and white. There are two red bands with a white band in-between. The red and white tri band has been used since early in the 13th century.
The flag of Austria was originally adopted in 1918. During the World Wars, Austria was occupied by Germany and lost sovereignty. It wasn’t until 1945 after being banned during World War II, that Austria regained sovereignty and readopted the flag on May 1.
The red and white colors in the flag are taken from a legend entailing Duke Leopold V. of Austria. According to the legend, the Duke fought in the Crusade for the Holy Land around 1191 at the Siege of Acre. He fought so valiantly that he did not even notice that his white shirt was totally covered in blood. However, when he removed his belt along with his scabbard, there was a strip of white, unsoiled material, inspiring him to create the red and white banner. A slightly different version of the legend states that he actually decided to hang his stained shirt(tunic) after he saw that they had lost their standard during the battle. In the 13th century, the last Babenberg Duke adopted red and white as his colors in order to express admiration and respect to his valiant predecessor.
If you’ve seen the movie, the Sound of Music, you have most likely seen the Austrian Flag, as it was hanging in the main hall. You will catch a glimpse of the flag several times during the song, So Long, Farewell, sung by the Von Trapp children, when they are singing farewell to their Father’s guests.
The flag of Austria is listed as the world’s 2nd oldest flag closely behind Denmark.