Flag of Minnesota

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State of Minnesota
UseCivil and state flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagSmall vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagReverse side is mirror image of obverse side
AdoptedDecember 19, 2023 (Effective May 11, 2024)
DesignA light blue field with a dark blue K-shaped figure on the hoist side bearing a white eight-pointed star
Designed byAndrew Prekker (base design)
Minnesota State Emblems Redesign Commission (final design)[1]

The official flag of Minnesota consists of a dark blue field representing the night sky and the shape of the state, a bright blue field representing the state's abundant waters, and an eight-pointed star representing the North Star using a design prominently featured at the Minnesota State Capitol.[2]

Design and use[edit]

The 2024 Minnesota flag flying outside the State Capitol on Statehood Day

Section 1.141 of the state statutes prescribes the design and use of the flag.[3]

Display and use[edit]

The flag is to be flown over the Minnesota State Capitol from sunrise to sunset.

When the flag is folded for storage, it should be folded in the same way as the national flag.[3] When folding the flag for presentation or display, it must be folded lengthwise four times, then each side must be folded down. The ends below the triangle must be folded in a complex way to form a triangle that is then tucked into the upper triangle. Instructions for folding in this manner, developed by members of the Minnesota National Guard, are reported to be detailed to the point of confusion by some.[4]


Mutilating, defiling, or casting contempt upon the flag, attaching any design to the flag, or using the flag for advertising are misdemeanor offenses under State Statute 609.40, excepting flags on written or printed documents.[3] However, following the 1990 Supreme Court ruling United States v. Eichman, enforcement of this law has been deemed unconstitutional.[5]


1893 flag[edit]

Flag of Minnesota, 1893-1957

In 1891, the Minnesota legislature voted to sponsor an exhibition at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and in response then governor William Rush Merriam appointed a board to supervise the preparations. The board comprised only men, but preparations specific to the showcasing of "women's work" were passed off to an all-women group of volunteers known as the Women's Auxiliary Board. Minnesota had no official flag at that time, and the Auxiliary Board formed a six-person committee to design a flag. The committee held a contest to design the flag, and 200 entries were submitted. In February 1893, Amelia Hyde Center was announced the winner and received $15 (equivalent to $509 in 2023)[6] for her winning design.[7] The Board then successfully petitioned the legislature to officially adopt the design as the state flag.

Center's design was white on one side and bright blue on the other. In the center of the white obverse was the state seal wreathed in white moccasin flowers overlaying a ring of blue. The seal depicted a farmer using a plow while a Native American figure on horseback rides to the west. A red ribbon across the seal bore a motto, L'Étoile du Nord (French for "The Star of the North"). The years 1819 (establishment of Fort Snelling), 1858 (statehood), and 1893 (adoption of the flag) appeared in gold around the seal. "Minnesota" was written in gold under the seal, and 19 gold stars, representing the fact that Minnesota was the 19th state to be admitted after the original 13 states,[8] were arranged in clusters to form the five points of a star. Historians have noted the design was likely influenced by various flags used by Minnesota's infantry regiments during the Civil War, many of which consisted of a blue field emblazoned with either an American eagle or the state seal with a scroll.[7]

The first flag was made of silk and was embroidered by Pauline and Thomane Fjelde, who won a gold medal for their creation. The flag was adopted on April 4, 1893.[9]

While the reverse of the official design was a solid blue field,[10] some examples of the flag, particularly those mass produced in the twentieth century, featured the seal design on that side as well.[citation needed]

1957 flag[edit]

Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Flag of Minnesota, 1957–1983

The flag was redesigned in 1957 in advance of the 1958 state centennial. Most significantly, the field of both the obverse (formerly white) and the reverse (formerly bright blue) were made royal blue; the unification allowed flags to be produced from a single piece of cloth, reducing manufacturing costs and making the flag more durable in high winds.[9][8] Separately, the white lady's-slippers depicted in the original were replaced with the pink-and-white lady's-slipper native to Minnesota.[11]

Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Joseph Nelson's proposed flag (1957)

The central design featured three concentric circular fields. The innermost field was filled with a simplified version of the state seal. Around the seal was a ring of blue ornamented with a wreath of pink-and-white lady's-slippers and a red ribbon, upon which are written the years 1819 and 1893 (for the establishment of Fort Snelling and the first Minnesota flag, respectively). At the top of the blue ring the year 1858 is set in gold. Around the blue ring is a white ring upon which 19 stars form five radially arrayed groups. Each group contained four stars except for the top-center group, which had two stars of standard size and one larger than the rest, representing the North Star. The number 19 was chosen to symbolize the fact that Minnesota was the 19th state to enter the Union after the original 13.[12] The larger star at the top symbolized the North Star. Between the bottom two groups, the state's name was set in red. Both the blue ring and the white ring were bordered with gold.

Another flag was proposed for Minnesota in 1957, designed by Joseph Nelson (Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard from 1949–1960) and endorsed by Rep. John Tracy Anderson. It depicts 19 stars forming the shape of a larger star, inside a triband of red on the left, white in the center, and blue on the right. [13]

1983 flag[edit]

Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Flag of Minnesota, 1983–2024

In 1983 the seal was redrawn, and the color field was lightened from a royal blue to a medium blue; the shade could vary in different flag makers' designs.[9] The flag was rectangular and featured a design emblazoned in the center of a field of blue. According to statute, the flag was bordered with gold and finished with gold fringe,[3] but this was rarely used and more common on indoor flags.[citation needed]

Several changes were also made to the seal in this year. The Native American figure was turned to face farther South, more towards the farmer. Also, the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls were added to the seal to note the importance of these resources in transportation, industry, and the settling of the state. Beyond the falls on the seal, the state added three pine trees representing the state tree (the Norway pine) and the three pine regions of the state: the St. Croix, Mississippi, and Lake Superior.[14][15] Around the seal, the flag still showed three notable years in Minnesota history (1819, 1858, and 1893),[3] the pink-and-white lady's slipper, and 19 stars placed the same as in 1957.

The 1983 Minnesota flag flying underneath the American flag

Criticism of the 1983 flag[edit]

The 1983 revision of the flag came under growing criticism. Longstanding frustration with its illegibility[16] was joined by concerns that the image depicted in the seal offered a negationist view of Minnesota's settlement by Europeans that concealed the violence committed against Indigenous peoples.[17][18]

North Star Flag[edit]

The North Star Flag features of blue over a field of green separated by an undulating white band. A yellow five-pointed star in emblazoned in upper left.
Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag The "North Star Flag", which won an unofficial contest in 2001, was originally proposed in 1989.

The North Star Flag design was created in 1989 by Lee Herold and Reverend William Becker.[19] The flag has the colors of green, representing forests, white, representing winter, and blue, representing water. A yellow star in the top left represents the North Star and the state's motto, L'Étoile du Nord.

Herold had opposed the official state flag since its creation when he was in high school.[20] In 1995, he left his career as an accountant and opened a flag store, Herold Flags, in Rochester, Minnesota. He presented the proposal to state legislators in 1989, supported by Republican representative Gil Gutknecht.[21] However, the North Star Flag design was never officially adopted by the state.

2024 flag[edit]

2023 Redesign Commission[edit]

On March 22, 2022, two Democratic-Farmer-Labor members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Mike Freiberg and Peter Fischer, introduced a bill to redesign the state's flag and seal. Fischer began supporting a flag redesign in 2017 after a group of high school students raised the issue to him.[19][21] The law outlines specific guidelines for the redesign, stipulating that the new designs "must accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities" and that symbols representing only a single community or person are prohibited.[19] It was proposed as part of a state budget bill and was opposed by Republican representatives, who viewed it as a low priority.[22][23]

In May 2023, as a part of the annual state budget, the Minnesota Legislature established the State Emblems Redesign Commission, tasked with proposing new designs for Minnesota's flag and seal.[24] The legislation dictates that, barring any contrary legislation, the chosen flag design will be adopted as the state flag on May 11, 2024.[25] The committee has 13 members, including representatives of the Indian Affairs Council, the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, along with three members of the general public appointed by Governor Tim Walz.[26] The committee held its first meeting on September 5.[27]

In October 2023, the committee received public input to suggest flag designs. A total of 2,123 flag and 398 seal submissions were received.[28] Common themes included the state bird (the loon), lakes and rivers, and the North Star.[29] More diverse entries included a photograph of a dog, a photograph of a wooden floor, national flags and imitations of them such as those of the Soviet Union, psychedelic monkey drawings, and a design depicting a loon shooting lasers from its eyes similar to the Laser Kiwi flag proposed during the 2015–2016 New Zealand flag referendums.[30][31]

On November 21, 2023, the commission met in the Minnesota Senate Building to review the selections.[32] Despite having planned to select five flag designs, the group chose six finalists.[33] All the finalists featured a star motif, the colors blue and white; none featured the loon, which the committee believed represented only part of Minnesota.[34] Herold attended the hearing, but his North Star Flag design was not a finalist.[35] On December 13, the number of flags was narrowed to three, F2100, F944, and F1953.[36]

Final design[edit]

Flag of Minnesota, 2024–present

On December 15, 2023 the committee decided that the final flag would be a variant of F1953, eliminating F2100 and F944.[45] The commission finalized the design on December 19, 2023 by removing the stripes and altering the star's shape, making the final design an all light-blue banner with a simplified shape of Minnesota on the hoist in dark blue and a simplified eight-pointed star in the center of the shape.[46][47][48]

Ted Kaye of the North American Vexillological Association called the new design "outstanding" and said that it has a place in the top 10 flags of the U.S.[49] Despite praise from vexillologists, a poll found that just 23% of Minnesota voters supported switching to the new flag, while 21% supported replacing the flag with a different design and 49% wished to keep the existing flag.[50] The flag officially became the new state flag on May 11, 2024.[51]

Criticism of the 2024 flag[edit]

A criticism of the design is its alleged similarity to the flag of Somalia; this criticism was denied by the commission overseeing the flag redesign.[52] Another criticism of the final design is that it is "plain".[53]

Several rural counties, including Crow Wing, Houston, McLeod, Nobles, Becker, Mower, and Brown, passed resolutions opposing the flag in general, or the process by which the new flag design was chosen. In early March 2024, Republican state legislators announced plans to introduce a series of bills that would put the flag design to a public vote, but the bills did not come up for a vote during the 2024 legislative session.[54][55][56][57][58][59]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SERC - Next Minnesota State Flag". www3.mnhs.org. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  2. ^ State Emblems Redesign Commission (January 1, 2024). "The New Official Flag and Great Seal" (PDF). Report of the Minnesota State Emblems Redesign Commission to the Minnesota Legislature and Governor: 20.
  3. ^ a b c d e "1.141 Official State Flag". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. State of Minnesota. 2006. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  4. ^ Brunswick, Mark (May 4, 2010). "Let 'L'Etoile' shine when folding the flag". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  5. ^ Mercer, David (August 1, 2016). Written at Urbana, IL. "States' flag-burning laws unconstitutional, but persist". The Daily Record. Baltimore, MD. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016.
  6. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Becker, William. "The Origin of the Minnesota State Flag" (PDF). Minnesota State Legislature. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "State Symbols" (PDF). Minnesota House of Representatives.
  9. ^ a b c MN Territorial Pioneers, Inc. "Flag of the State of Minnesota". Archived from the original on October 25, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "The State's Banner". St. Paul Daily Globe. March 31, 1893.
  11. ^ "The State Flag of Minnesota". Minnesota State Mankato. Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  12. ^ "State Flag". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  13. ^ "Proposal for a new Minnesota state flag (1957)". Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  14. ^ "Minnesota Statutes – 1.135 State Seal". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. 1983. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  15. ^ "About the Minnesota Flag, its adoption and history". Netstate. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  16. ^ Kaye, Ted. "2001 State/Provincial Flag Survey". North American Vexillological Association. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015.
  17. ^ Harrington, Judith (July 2, 2015). "As long as we're discussing flags, what about Minnesota's?". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023.
  18. ^ Grindy, Mark (July 3, 2020). "Racist state flags need to go — Minnesota's is next". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on December 10, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c Derosier, Alex (March 25, 2022). "Minnesota's state flag doesn't get much love. Why it vexes experts who want it changed". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  20. ^ Huppert, Boyd (June 26, 2023). "Minnesota to get a new state flag. Meet the man who spent decades trying to change it". KARE 11. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  21. ^ a b Croman, John (March 23, 2022). "Minnesota lawmakers ponder changing flag and seal". KARE 11. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  22. ^ "New State Flag? Proposal At Minnesota Capitol Would Move To Change It". CBS News-Minnesota. April 13, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  23. ^ Brooks, Jennifer (April 23, 2022). "Oh say can you see a better flag for Minnesota". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  24. ^ "HF1830". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. 2023.
  25. ^ "HF 1830 4th Engrossment". MN Revisor's Office. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  26. ^ Cummings, Caroline (June 27, 2023). "Group will put forward a new design for Minnesota state seal, flag by next year". CBS News. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  27. ^ Fitzgerald, Kilat; Henry, Ben (September 5, 2023). "Commission on redesigning Minnesota's flag holds first meeting". KSTP News. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  28. ^ Swanson, Steve; James, Derek (November 8, 2023). "Whole lotta loons: 2,000-plus submissions unveiled for new Minnesota state flag, seal". CBS News. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  29. ^ Willingham, AJ (November 14, 2023). "Minnesota has gotten more than 2,500 design submissions for its new state flag. There are a lot of loons". CNN. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  30. ^ Brooks, Jennifer (November 9, 2023). "Land of 10,000 flags (and loons with laser eyes)". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  31. ^ Hoff, Jennifer (November 8, 2023). "For better or worse, thousands of new Minnesota flag designs are publicly released". KARE 11. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  32. ^ Derosier, Alex (November 21, 2023). "Panel picks 6 finalists for redesigned MN state flag — and none have loons". Pioneer Press. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  33. ^ Hoff, Jennifer (November 21, 2023). "Here are the six finalists for a new Minnesota flag". KARE 11. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  34. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (November 21, 2023). "Here are the six finalists for a new Minnesota state flag and five for a new state seal". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  35. ^ Stolle, Matthew (November 22, 2023). "Six finalists are picked to be the new state flag; North Star flag was not one of them". Post-Bulletin. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  36. ^ Gorham, Quinn (December 13, 2023). "A closer look at each of Minnesota's three flag finalists". KTTC News. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  37. ^ Ferguson, Dana (November 28, 2023). "Minnesota North Star motto inspired Luverne designer's Minnesota flag entry that is now among 6 finalists". MPR News. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  38. ^ Ferguson, Dana (December 4, 2023). "Flag designer living in Lone Star state hopes to win over North Star state panel". MPR News. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  39. ^ Pitman, Todd; Peter Pitman. "Mirror of the Sky – A new flag for Minnesota". Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  40. ^ a b c Wurzer, Cathy; Brian Bakst; Alanna Elder; Estelle Timar-Wilcox (November 22, 2023). "Meet 3 people whose designs are finalists for the new Minnesota flag". MPR News. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  41. ^ Wittnebel, Aaron; Olson, Bjorn; Drazkowski, Steve (December 29, 2023). "Minority Report" (PDF). Minnesota State Emblems Redesign Commission. p. 10. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  42. ^ Hundot, Brandon (October 26, 2015). "The latest design for a new Minnesota flag is inspired by l'etoile du nord". Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  43. ^ Ferguson, Dana (November 30, 2023). "Designer's state seal entry could be last hope for loon-loving Minnesotans". MPR News. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  44. ^ Needham, Emma (November 22, 2023). "A Flag That Unites Us – MN Redesigns State Flag". Minnesota Native News. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  45. ^ "New Minnesota state flag selected". FOX 9. December 15, 2023. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  46. ^ "This is Minnesota's new flag". FOX 9. December 19, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  47. ^ Cummings, Caroline; Bettin, Anthony (December 19, 2023). "Minnesota's new state flag design is finalized - CBS Minnesota". CBS News. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  48. ^ Ferguson, Dana (December 19, 2023). "Let it fly: Minnesota officially has a new flag". Minnesota Public Radio. What I've struggled with is the stripes, the stars and stripes, it feels predictable, it doesn't necessarily feel different," said commission member Kate Beane about the original concept as she advocated for the simpler design. "I understand the nod to agriculture. I think having the outline of the state is a nod to the land base and is a nod to agriculture.
  49. ^ Crann, Tom; Ngoc Bui (December 19, 2023). "Flag expert calls new Minnesota state flag 'outstanding,' top ten in the country". MPR News. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  50. ^ Hauser, Tom (February 2, 2024). "KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Minnesotans want sports betting, Social Security tax elimination". KSTP News. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  51. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (December 19, 2023). "'It's going to last': Minnesota panel settles on final state flag design". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  52. ^ "Minnesota replaced its 'racist' flag. The new one is facing its own outrage". The Independent. December 20, 2023. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  53. ^ Fergot, Allyson (January 3, 2024). "Minnesotans react to the state's new flag design". News8000.com. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  54. ^ Herald, Daily (February 14, 2024). "Commissioners approve resolution asking that new flag, seal decision be rescinded". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  55. ^ Smith, Kelly; Tribune, Briana Bierschbach Star. "New Minnesota state flag becomes partisan issue in 2024". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  56. ^ "Becker County comes out strongly against new state flag". Detroit Lakes Tribune. February 7, 2024. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  57. ^ "Brown Co. Board OKs resolution opposing state flag redesign process". nujournal.com. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  58. ^ "Nobles County commissioners adopt resolution opposing new Minnesota state flag, seal". Worthington Globe. January 24, 2024. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  59. ^ "GOP lawmakers seek public vote on new Minnesota state flag". kare11.com. March 5, 2024. Retrieved May 13, 2024.

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