The Hague - Design and Government

Every dot represents a person who visited this site.
The colour and sound are determined by your unique ip-address.

newsletter rss-feed twitter facebook

Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.

Police uniforms

Everywhere in Europe the police

have the same mission: order and safety. Still their appearance varies from country to country. In most European countries the traditional uniform colour is blue; recently Germany and Bulgaria also switched over to (a shade of) blue. With respect to the appearance of its uniform every country seeks to strike a balance between accessibility and authority, for example by opting for a sporty baseball cap or a stern hat, and between modernity and tradition, which especially appears from the frequent use of heraldic coats of arms. In addition, recognisability, safety and a comfortable fit play an important role in the design of the uniform.
On this page you will see uniforms of police officers as you may come across them in European streets and police stations, ceremonial uniforms which are worn at official occasions and uniforms of police organisations with a military status, like the French Gendarmerie and the Dutch Marechaussee, all recognisable as police, yet all slightly different.

Poland - Policja

Sergeant, field uniform

This uniform, with a white stripe on the trousers, was designed in 2006 and is currently being introduced nationwide. The baseball cap bears the symbol of the police, which is based on the national symbol: a crowned white eagle with the word ‘Policja’ in its claws.

Latvia - Policija

Lieutenant Colonel, service uniform

The letters ‘LV’ on the collar of the dark blue uniform stand for Latvia. The cap bears the Latvian coat of arms with a sun symbolising the state. It was designed by the artist Rihards Zarins in 1918 and reintroduced in 1991, after the Soviet occupation.
Photo: Fograko

Hungary - Rendörség / Police

Police officer, field-uniform

The breast and the cap bear the logo of the police: the national colours with a pair of scales, symbolising justice. The colour of the cord on the cap matches the colour of the stars on the shoulders indicating rank, gold or silver.

Cyprus - Police / ΑΣΤΥΝΟΜΙΑ / Polis

Police officer, service uniform

Cyprus has had its own police organisation since the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. The national emblem is used as a logo: a dove with an olive branch, a symbol of peace. On the left shoulder the word ‘police’ is displayed in three languages: in English (on account of the British colonial past), in Greek and in Turkish, the two official languages on the island. Until 1990 the police wore a black uniform in winter and a beige uniform during the summer. Nowadays they wear a dark blue uniform throughout the year.

Sweden - Polisen

Superintendent, service uniform

The field uniform strongly resembles this uniform, although it is slightly more casual. Since the 1980s the police have often worn a dark blue båtmössa, a foldable cap that is not in the way when driving a car and is easy to carry along. In summer police officers wear a white cap (end of May to end of September). The national symbol, a crown, is depicted on the cap and the jacket. Specially for this photograph the Swedish officer was wearing his coloured ribbon of the Nijmegen Four Days Marches in 1981.
Photo: Fograko

Czech Republic - Polícia

Lieutenant-Colonel, field uniform

Before the separation from Slovakia in 1993, the police wore a green uniform. The cap bears the coat of arms of the Czech Republic: a shield with the coats of arms of the three historical regions of Bohemia (two-tailed lion), Moravia (eagle) and Silesia (eagle with a crescent).
Photo: Fograko

Spain - Policía

Police officer, field uniform

The past year all constables got this new, more sporty and comfortable uniform. Its colour is darker, a baseball cap has replaced the flat cap, the flat shoes were replaced by robust boots and the metal emblem was replaced by a plastic one. The logo consists of an octagonal star (a radiant sun) with a crown and the national symbol, which comprises the coats of arms of the principal former kingdoms of Castile (tower), León (lion), Aragon (stripes), Navarra (chain with emerald), Granada (pomegranate) and the present Spanish Royal House of Bourbon (fleur-de-lis).

Slovakia - Polícia

Lieutenant Colonel, service uniform

The uniform has not changed visibly since the separation from the Czech Republic in 1993. The service uniform strongly resembles that of the police officers on the beat. The coat of arms on the sleeve and the cap comprises a double cross on three hills, three mountain ranges in the north of the former Kingdom of Hungary, and has been used as a symbol for Slovakia since the 16th century (also depicted on the Slovak euro).
Photo: Fograko

Slovenia - Policija

Senior Police Inspector, field uniform

In 1991, when Slovenia gained independence, the police was given a new appearance replacing the Yugoslavian police house style. The left shoulder bears the logo of the police, the right shoulder bears the stylised symbol of the service concerned, in this case the ‘uniformed police’. Both logos are based on the national logo with the white mountain Triglav towering over the sea and rivers, designed by the visual artist Marko Pogacnik. On the cap Slovenia is displayed in the national colours.

Rumania - Jandarmeria

Chief Inspector, service uniform

The service uniform comprises dark blue trousers and a light blue jacket, the field uniform is dark blue. The cap bears the coat of arms of Rumania, which was designed in 1992 during a design contest. It shows an eagle, a heraldic bird, with a cross, a sceptre and a sword in the national colours. The right shoulder bears the coat of arms of the Jandarmeria: the same eagle, but with the ‘J’ on its breast. The military constabulary was founded together with the police corps only 20 years ago, right after the Rumanian revolution in 1989.

Portugal - Guarda Nacional Republicana

Ceremonial uniform

Both the police and the military Guarda Nacional Republicana are dressed in blue. This ceremonial uniform is worn on occasions such as the changing of the guard.

Portugal - Guarda Nacional Republicana

Captain, service uniform

Both the police and the military Guarda Nacional Republicana are dressed in blue.

Portugal - Polícia

Constable, field uniform

Both the police and the military Guarda Nacional Republicana are dressed in blue. On the left shoulder of the uniform (in this case a summer uniform) the green and red national flag is displayed, the breast and the cap bear the star-shaped logo of the police.

The Netherlands - Koninklijke Marechaussee

Investigating officer, service uniform

Because the term ‘gendarmerie’ was considered emotionally charged in 1814, after the French occupation, the new military constabulary was called ‘marechaussée’. The cap shows the logo of the marechaussee, an exploding grenade, which is the traditional emblem of military constabularies, i.e. the hand grenade throwers. On the coat of the service uniform aglets, ornamental tagged cords, are worn. These are originally part of French uniforms. Soldiers wear a white cord, non-commissioned officers wear a blue and silver cord and the higher ranks wear a silver cord. The service uniform is usually worn without a jacket.
Photo: Fograko

The Netherlands - Koninklijke Marechaussee

Investigating officer, field uniform

Because the term ‘gendarmerie’ was considered emotionally charged in 1814, after the French occupation, the new military constabulary was called ‘marechaussée’. The cap shows the logo of the marechaussee, an exploding grenade, which is the traditional emblem of military constabularies, i.e. the hand grenade throwers.
Photo: Fograko

The Netherlands - Politie

Trainee police officer, field uniform

As the clothing package was too extensive and diverse, a new uniform was introduced five years ago. The light blue shirt was replaced by a white one and the long jacket was replaced by a more practical short model. The logo comprises the internationally recognisable word ‘politie’ together with two old heraldic images: a lawbook and a flame expressing vigilance. The whole visual identity, including the logo and the orange and blue striping on the cars, was designed by Studio Dumbar in 1992.
Photo: Fograko

Italy - Carabinieri

Constable, field uniform

The Carabinieri, the military constabulary, can be recognised by the black uniform with a red stripe on the trousers. The Italian Polizia wear a blue jacket and grey trousers with a purple stripe. The stylish Carabinieri uniform was designed by the Italian fashion house Valentino. In summer the coat and gloves are not used and a short-sleeved shirt is worn. The white band was formerly used to carry ammunition, but it currently indicates that the officer is on duty. The cap bears the symbol used by nearly all military constabularies: an exploding grenade.
Photo: Fograko

Italy - Carabinieri

Lieutenant Colonel, service uniform

The Carabinieri, the military constabulary, can be recognised by the black uniform with a red stripe on the trousers. It was designed by the Italian fashion house Valentino. The cap bears the symbol used by nearly all military constabularies: an exploding grenade.

Luxembourg - Police Grand-Ducale

Traffic patrol agent highway police, field uniform

The 1999 merger of the gendarmerie (formerly in blue uniform) with the police (formerly in black uniform) led to the introduction of a single new dark blue uniform. The uniform with an orange jacket has been worn by officers on patrol since 2006. The lion and the crown are taken from the kingdom’s coat of arms, the two swords refer to the armed unit. The oak leaves are a relic from the old gendarmerie logo.

Luxembourg - Police Grand-Ducale

Ceremonial uniform

The 1999 merger of the gendarmerie (formerly in blue uniform) with the police (formerly in black uniform) led to the introduction of a single new dark blue uniform. The lion and the crown are taken from the kingdom’s coat of arms, the two swords refer to the armed unit. The oak leaves are a relic from the old gendarmerie logo.

Luxembourg - Police Grand-Ducale

Police officer, field uniform

The 1999 merger of the gendarmerie (formerly in blue uniform) with the police (formerly in black uniform) led to the introduction of a single new dark blue uniform. The lion and the crown are taken from the kingdom’s coat of arms, the two swords refer to the armed unit. The oak leaves are a relic from the old gendarmerie logo.

France - Gendarmerie

Major, service uniform

The name ‘Gendarmerie’ is a corruption of ‘gens d’arme’ (armed people). Just like many other military corps, the French Gendarmerie has an exploding grenade as its logo. The coloured ribbons, so-called ‘bâtons’, are worn instead of metal medals. These ribbons are awarded, inter alia, for service abroad. The last few years the ‘képi’ (flat hat) has only been used for special occasions. The French Police are dressed in blue like the Gendarmerie.

Finland - Poliisi

Senior Constable, field uniform

When the police uniform was introduced in 1861, blue was chosen to distinguish the uniform from the black uniforms worn by soldiers at the time. The present uniform was introduced around the year 2000. The logo on the sleeves and the collar, a crowned lion’s head as a sword’s hilt, dates from 1935: protect the good against the bad.

Denmark - Politi

Chief Superintendent, service uniform

On all buttons a palm of the hand with an eye is displayed. This ‘all-seeing eye of the Government’ has been the symbol of the police in Denmark since the 18th century. The service uniform has not changed for decades; the field uniform was designed as part of the overall visual identity of the police by the Danish firm of designers E-types in 2004. The restyled logo is based on the 12th century coat of arms with three crowned lions, a reference to the kingdom, and nine hearts.
Photo: Fograko

United Kingdom - Police

Traffic patrol agent, highway police, field uniform

Until some 15 years ago the police in England wore a formal jacket with silver buttons and trousers with a sharp crease. Nowadays they wear a more sporty dark blue uniform. The men wear a peaked cap, the women a bowler style hat with a Sillitoe Tartan wrapped around it, i.e. a black and white chequered pattern, first used by Sir Sillitoe in 1932. On the cars this pattern is applied in yellow and blue.

United Kingdom - Police

Police Constable, field uniform

The Metropolitan Police in London was founded in 1829 by Robert Peel. English PCs are also referred to as bobbies, after the founder of the police force. The typical bobby helmet is still worn to this day. Until some 15 years ago the police wore a formal jacket with silver buttons and trousers with a sharp crease. Nowadays they wear a more sporty dark blue uniform.

Belgium - Politie / Police / Polizei

Police inspector, field uniform

The 2001 merger of the municipal police with the state police (originally a military unit) led to the design of a new visual identity of the police and a new uniform. The blue stripes on the name tag stand for the local police; the orange represent the federal (national) police. The ‘scheepje’ (boat-shaped hat) is easy to fold and carry along in the trouser pockets. Just like the rest of the house style, the logo on the collar was designed by the Belgian firm of designers hoet&hoet brand identity. The hand and the flame are symbols of protection and supervision.

Belgium - Politie / Police / Polizei

Chief Superintendent, ceremonial uniform

The 2001 merger of the municipal police with the state police (originally a military unit) led to the design of a new visual identity of the police and a new uniform. The blue stripes on the name tag stand for the local police; the orange represent the federal (national) police. Just like the rest of the house style, the logo on the collar was designed by the Belgian firm of designers hoet&hoet brand identity. The hand and the flame are symbols of protection and supervision.
Photo: Fograko

Bulgaria - Politsiya / полиция

Superintendent, service uniform

Following most other EU countries Bulgaria (an EU member state since 2007) opted for a dark blue uniform in 2006. Previously it had been grey. The logo comprises traditional Bulgarian symbols: the lion is a heraldic Bulgarian symbol from the 13th century, the sword symbolises the protection of law and safety and the colours red, green and white are the national colours.

Bulgaria - Politsiya / полиция

Sergeant, field uniform

Following most other EU countries Bulgaria (an EU member state since 2007) opted for a dark blue uniform in 2006. Previously it had been grey. The logo comprises traditional Bulgarian symbols: the lion is a heraldic Bulgarian symbol from the 13th century, the sword symbolises the protection of law and safety and the colours red, green and white are the national colours.

Germany - Polizei

Chief Superintendent, field uniform

Until recently the German police dressed in a moss green/yellow/beige uniform and drove white/green police cars. After the example of most other EU member states the entire police force will have switched to blue by 2012. The new identity has been designed by the German designer Luigi Colani, well-known for his streamlined car and aircraft designs. The sleeve and the cap bear the coat of arms of the federal state concerned, in this case Lower Saxony. The Saxon horse, a prancing white horse, was already used as a symbol by the Saxon nations in the 14th century.

Malta - Police / Pulizija


The Malta Police Force is one of the oldest police forces in Europe. It dates from 1814, when Malta became a crown colony of the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 1924 Malta was granted self-government. Malta has 400.000 inhabitants, there are around 1 million tourists a year, and there are about 1.800 serving members.