Flag of Greenland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Other namesErfalasorput ("our flag"), Aappalaartoq ("the red")
UseNational flag and civil ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Reverse side is mirror image of obverse side
Adopted21 June 1985[1]
DesignA horizontal bicolour of white and red, with a counterchanged disk slightly off-centre towards the hoist.
Designed byThue Christiansen
Greenland flag painted vertically on an apartment block
Schoolchildren in Upernavik with flags

The flag of Greenland (Greenlandic: Kalaallit erfalasuat, Danish: Grønlands flag) was designed by Greenland native Thue Christiansen.[2] It features two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red (bottom) with a counter-changed red-and-white disk slightly to the hoist side of centre. The entire flag measures 18 by 12 parts; each stripe measures 6 parts; the disk is 8 parts in diameter, horizontally offset by 7 parts from the hoist to the centre of the circle, and vertically centered.

Its local name in the Greenlandic language is Erfalasorput, which means "our flag". The term Aappalaartoq (meaning "the red") is also used for both the Greenlandic flag and the flag of Denmark (Dannebrog). Today, Greenlanders display both the Erfalasorput and the Dannebrog[3]—often side by side. The flag of Greenland is the only national flag of a Nordic country or territory without a Nordic cross, but is similar to the cultural Sámi flag, which also features a circular design.


Greenland first entertained the idea of a flag of its own in 1973 when five Greenlanders proposed a green, white and blue flag. The following year, a newspaper solicited eleven design proposals (all but one of which was a Nordic cross) and polled the people to determine the most popular.[4] The flag of Denmark was preferred to the others. Little came of this effort.

In 1978, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, making it an equal member of the Danish Realm. The home rule government held an official call for flag proposals, receiving 555 (of which 293 were submitted by Greenlanders).

Construction sheet of the flag of Greenland

The deciding committee came to no consensus, so more proposals were solicited. Finally, the present red-and-white design by Thue Christiansen narrowly won over a green-and-white Nordic cross by a vote of fourteen to eleven.[5] Christiansen's red-and-white flag was officially adopted on 21 June 1985.[2]

To honour the tenth anniversary of the flag, the Greenland Post Office issued commemorative postage stamps and a leaflet by the flag's creator.[6] He described the white stripe as representing the glaciers and ice cap, which cover more than 80% of the island; the red stripe, the ocean; the red semicircle, the sun, with its bottom part sunk in the ocean; and the white semicircle, the icebergs and pack ice. The design is also reminiscent of the setting Sun half-submerged below the horizon and reflected on the sea.[1] In 1985, it was reported that Greenland's flag had exactly the same motif as the flag of the Danish rowing club HEI Rosport, which was founded before Greenland's flag was chosen. It is not clear whether this is a case of plagiarism or just a coincidence, but the rowing club gave Greenland permission to use their flag.[7]

The colours of the flag are the same as those of the flag of Denmark, symbolizing Greenland's place in the Danish realm.[8]

Other proposals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Politics in Greenland – Government of Greenland". Archived from the original on 2017-10-15. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  2. ^ a b "Greenland's flag". Nordic Council. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  3. ^ "The Greenland flag in the capital Nuk, Greenland". GRID-Arendal. Archived from the original on 2018-12-14. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  4. ^ Sørensen, Axel Kjær (2009). Denmark-Greenland in the Twentieth Century. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 9788763512763.
  5. ^ "Nu vajer det grønlandske flag over Danmark". 21 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  6. ^ "Greenland (Denmark)". flagspot.net. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  7. ^ "(Danish) Grønland må gerne bruge roklub-flag". Politiken. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  8. ^ "The Greenland Flag". Nordic Co-operation. Archived from the original on Mar 4, 2018.

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