|Use||Civil flag and ensign|
|Adopted||28 May 1918|
|Design||Sea-blue Nordic cross on white field.|
|Name||The State flag|
|Use||State flag and ensign|
|Design||Sea-blue Nordic cross on white field, rectangular Coat of Arms of Finland (colours gold and silver on red)|
|Name||The flag of the Defence Forces|
|Use||War flag and naval ensign|
|Design||Sea-blue Nordic cross on white field, rectangular Coat of Arms of Finland (colours gold and silver on red), swallow-tailed|
|Name||The flag of the President of the Republic of Finland|
|Design||Sea-blue Nordic cross on white field, rectangular Coat of Arms of Finland (colours gold and silver on red), swallow-tailed, Cross of Liberty in canton (colors gold on blue)|
|Design||A white field with the Coat of Arms of Finland in the center.|
The flag of Finland (Finnish : Suomen lippu, Swedish : Finlands flagga), also called Siniristilippu ("Blue Cross Flag"), dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity.
The state flag has a coat of arms in the centre, but is otherwise identical to the civil flag. The swallow-tailed state flag is used by the military. The presidential standard is identical to the swallow-tailed state flag but also has in its upper left corner the Cross of Liberty after the Order of the Cross of Liberty, which has the President of Finland as its Grand Master. Like Sweden's, Finland's national flag is based on the Scandinavian cross. It was adopted after independence from Russia, when many patriotic Finns wanted a special flag for their country, but its design dates back to the 19th century. The blue colouring is said to represent the country's thousands of lakes and the sky, with white for the snow that covers the land in winter. This colour combination has also been used over the centuries in various Finnish provincial, military, and town flags.
The first known "Flag of Finland" was presented in 1848, along with the national anthem Maamme. Its motif was the coat of arms of Finland, surrounded by laurel leaves, on a white flag.
The current blue-crossed design was first used in Finland by Nyländska Jaktklubben, a yacht club founded in Helsinki in 1861. In addition to the blue cross on the white background, the yacht club flag had the crowned arms of the province of Uusimaa within two crossed branches in the upper hoist quarter. Except for the position of the cross, the flag was similar to the flag of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, founded the previous year. The design can be traced to the Russian Navy ensign, which has a blue cross saltire on a white background. During the Crimean War, Finnish merchant ships captured by the British-French fleet flew a flag called Flag of St. George, which was based on the Russian Customs flag. In this variant, the cross was thinner than in the modern flag, and the proportions were equal. Another blue-cross flag was made official in 1861 for private vessels.
In 1910, in connection with Russification of Finland, the Russian authorities decreed that a Russian flag was to be added to the canton. However, this was met with resistance; the flag was derided as the "slave's flag" (orjalippu), and most Finns refused to fly it. Instead, a triangular pennant without this modification was flown, thereby circumventing the decree concerning flags.
Shortly after Finland gained independence in 1917, a competition was held for the design of the Finnish flag. Several different designs were submitted. Regarding the colours, the entries fell mainly into two categories – one using the red and yellow from the Finnish coat of arms, and the other using the present blue and white colours.
One entry had the Dannebrog cross design, but with a yellow cross on a red background. Another entry had diagonal blue and white stripes, but it was criticized[ by whom? ] as being more suitable for a barber shop than a newly independent country. Akseli Gallen-Kallela proposed a similar cross flag, but with colors inverted (white cross on blue), but this was considered too similar to the Swedish flag and particularly the Greek flag of the time. Finally, artists Eero Snellman and Bruno Tuukkanen specified the final form of the flag. According to tradition, the flag was based on a design by the poet Zachris Topelius in about 1860.
The state flag was further modified in 1922, when the coronet was removed, and again in 1978 when the shield-shaped coat of arms was changed into a rectangular shape.
Under Finnish law, the ratio of the flag is 11:18 (height:width), very close to the golden ratio. The swallow-tailed state flag is one unit longer and the tails are five units long. The cusp width of the blue cross is three units of measure, giving a ratio set of 4:3:4 (vertical) and 5:3:10 (horizontal). When flown from a flagpole, the flag is recommended to have a width equalling one sixth of the height of the pole.
The Finnish flag is used in three main variants. The usual national flag is used by all citizens, organizations and Finnish municipalities and regions. Anyone is allowed to fly the national flag whenever they deem it suitable.The rectangular state flag is used by bodies of the Finnish national and provincial governments, by the Cathedral Chapters of the two national churches (Evangelical Lutheran and Orthodox), and non-naval vessels of the state.
The swallow-tailed national flag, which is also the naval ensign, is flown by the Finnish Defence Forces. The presidential standard and the command signs of the Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence, and Commander of the Finnish Navy are flown only by the respective persons.
All public bodies as well as most private citizens and corporations fly the flag on official flag flying days. In addition to the official flag flying days, there are about ten unofficial but generally observed flag flying days. Besides flag flying days, normally, no flags or corporate flags are flown. Flag Day is celebrated on Midsummer’s Day.
The Finnish flag is raised at 8 am and lowered at sunset, however not later than 9 pm. On independence day, the flag is flown until 8 pm regardless of the dark. On the occasion of great national tragedies, the ministry of interior may recommend flying the flag at half mast throughout the country.
As a special custom in Finland, the flag is flown at Midsummer from 6 pm of Midsummer eve until 9 pm of Midsummer's day. This is done to symbolize the fact that the darkness does not come to any part of Finland during Midsummer's Night. Midsummer is also celebrated as the day of the Finnish flag.
The colours are defined in both CIE 1931 and CIE 1976 standards, Swedish standard SS 01 91 22 and by the Pantone Matching System:
|CIE (x, y, Y)||0.1856, 0.1696, 5.86||0.576, 0.312, 10.9||0.486, 0.457, 45.7|
|CIE (L*, a*, b*)||29.06, 7.24, −36.98||39.4, 59.0, 29.6||73.4, 14.8, 79.0|
|SS 01 91 22||4060-R90B||1090-Y90R||0080-Y204|
|Pantone||294 C||186 C||123 C|
|*Section 3 of the source gives for the CIE values illuminant D65 and measurement geometry d/2°. |
*Source: http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/1993/19930827 Government Decision 827/1993 (in Finnish)
There is no official RGB definition for the colors, because its color gamut is too narrow. From the CIE L*a*b* colors the unofficial approximations in sRGB are (range 0–255): blue R=24, G=68, B=126, red R=181, G=28, B=49 and yellow R=237, G=167, B=0. The yellow color actually lies outside the sRBG colorspace. The blue color is called "sea blue", which is a dark to medium blue. It is not very dark navy blue, and certainly not any bright or greenish shade such as turquoise or cyan. It may be substituted for heraldic tincture azure.
Red and yellow are used in the coat of arms that appears on the state flag.
Alternatively, artists or students might find it helpful to know that the blue color in the current civic use National Flag (no variant), has an approximate hex color of: #002f6c or an RGB of R:0 G:47 B:108. These colors are converted from Pantone 294 C as stated above in the table.
Under Finnish law it is forbidden to deface the flag or to use it in a disrespectful way. It is also illegal to remove a flag from its pole without permission. Anyone who breaks these regulations may be fined for disgracing the flag.
Finnish law also forbids the use of the presidential standard or state flag without permission, as well as the addition of any extra symbols to the flag. One may not sell a flag which has different colours or geometry than defined by the law. These are considered violations of the flag regulations and can lead to a fine.
There are also common rules on how to treat the flag respectfully. The flag must not be dirty or damaged. The flag must never touch the ground. When the flag is washed, it must be dried indoors. A worn-out flag must be disposed of by burning (though not with the intent to disgrace it), or alternatively by cutting it to pieces small enough not to be recognizable as parts of the flag. The flag must not be buried in the ground or the sea (including not throwing it into the garbage).
A Finnish specialty is that any yachting club registered in Finland may apply to have a flag with the club emblem officially approved for use on yachts. Such an ensign will be the civil ensign with a white cross, 3⁄5 of a unit wide, superimposed on the blue cross and with the club emblem in the upper hoist corner. Most yachting clubs distribute these ensigns to their members, and they are much used, but their use is not recommended outside Finnish waters to avoid confusion.[ citation needed ] Officially, however, the yachting club ensign is valid even for international use.
Presidential Standard of Finland as used by Field Marshal Mannerheim, 6th President of Finland
A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a given nation. It is flown by the government of that nation, but usually can also be flown by its citizens. A national flag is typically designed with specific meanings for its colours and symbols, which may also be used separately from the flag as a symbol of the nation. The design of a national flag is sometimes altered after the occurrence of important historical events. The burning or destruction of a national flag is a greatly symbolic act.
The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom. Though no law has been passed officially making the Union Jack the national flag of the United Kingdom, it has effectively become the national flag through precedent. The flag has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. As they are localities within the British state, or realm, it is the national flag of all of the British overseas territories, although local flags have also been authorised for most, which may be flown in place of, or along with the national flag. Governors of British Overseas Territories have their own flags, which are the Union flag with the distinguishing arms of the colony at the centre. The Union Flag also appears in the canton of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as that of Hawaii. The claim that the term Union Jack properly refers only to naval usage has been disputed, following historical investigations by the Flag Institute in 2013.
The flag of Sweden consists of a yellow or gold Nordic cross on a field of light blue. The Nordic cross design traditionally represents Christianity. The design and colours of the Swedish flag are believed to have been inspired by the present coat of arms of Sweden of 1442, which is blue divided quarterly by a cross pattée of gold, and modelled on the Danish flag. Blue and yellow have been used as Swedish colours at least since Magnus III's royal coat of arms of 1275.
The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador was introduced in 1980 and was designed by Newfoundland artist Christopher Pratt. The flag design was approved by the House of Assembly of the province of Newfoundland, Canada, on May 28, 1980. It was flown for the first time on Discovery Day, June 24, 1980. The name of the province was changed to Newfoundland and Labrador by an amendment to the constitution of Canada in December 2001. This was at the request of the provincial legislature.
The flag of Poland consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one white and the lower one red. The two colors are defined in the Polish constitution as the national colours. A variant of the flag with the national coat of arms in the middle of the white fess is legally reserved for official use abroad and at sea. A similar flag with the addition of a swallow-tail is used as the naval ensign of Poland.
The flag of Norway is red with an indigo blue Scandinavian cross fimbriated in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark.
The flag of Scotland is the national flag of Scotland, which consists of a white saltire defacing a blue field. The Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, is the correct flag for all private individuals and corporate bodies to fly. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8:00 am until sunset, with certain exceptions.
The flag of Quebec, called the Fleurdelisé represents the Canadian province of Quebec. It consists of a white cross on a blue background, with four white fleurs-de-lis.
The national flag of Greece, popularly referred to as the "blue and white" or the "sky blue and white", is officially recognised by Greece as one of its national symbols and has nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white. There is a blue canton in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolises Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the prevailing religion of Greece. The blazon of the flag is Azure, four bars Argent; on a canton of the field a Greek cross throughout of the second. The official flag ratio is 2:3. The shade of blue used in the flag has varied throughout its history, from light blue to dark blue, the latter being increasingly used since the late 1960s. It was officially adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on 13 January 1822.
The current state flag of Tasmania was officially adopted following a proclamation by Tasmanian colonial Governor Sir Frederick Weld on 25 September 1876, and was first published in the Tasmanian Gazette the same day. The governor's proclamation here were three official flags, they being the Governor's flag, the Tasmania Government vessel flag, and a Tasmania merchant flag. Up until 1856 when Tasmania was granted responsible self-government, the Union flag and the British ensign were primarily used on state occasions.
In British maritime law and custom, an ensign is the identifying flag flown to designate a British ship, either military or civilian. Such flags display the United Kingdom Union Flag in the canton, with either a red, white or blue field, dependent on whether the vessel is civilian, naval, or in a special category. These are known as the red, white, and blue ensigns respectively.
The flag of Switzerland displays a white cross in the centre of a square red field. The white cross is known as the Swiss cross. Its arms are equilateral, and their ratio of length to width is 7:6. The size of the cross in relation to the field was set in 2017 as 5:8.
The flag of Iceland was officially described in Law No. 34, set out on 17 June 1944, the day Iceland became a republic. The law is entitled "The Law of the National Flag of Icelanders and the State Arms" and describes the Icelandic flag as follows:
The civil national flag of Icelanders is blue as the sky with a snow-white cross, and a fiery-red cross inside the white cross. The arms of the cross extend to the edge of the flag, and their combined width is 2⁄9, but the red cross 1⁄9 of the combined width of the flag. The blue areas are right angled rectangles, the rectilinear surfaces are parallel and the outer rectilinear surfaces as wide as them, but twice the length. The dimensions between the width and length are 18:25.
The flag of Lithuania consists of a horizontal tricolor of yellow, green, and red. It was adopted on 25 April 1918 during Lithuania's first period of independence from 1918 to 1940, which ceased with the occupation first by Soviet Russia and Lithuania's annexation into the Soviet Union, and then by Germany (1941–1944). During the post-World War II Soviet occupation, from 1945 until 1989, the Soviet Lithuanian flag consisted first of a generic red Soviet flag with the name of the republic, then changed to the red flag with white and green bands at the bottom.
The flag of Spain, as it is defined in the Constitution of 1978, consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of each red stripe. Traditionally, the middle stripe was defined by the more archaic term of gualda, and hence the popular name la Rojigualda (red-weld).
The flag of Ukraine is a banner of two equally sized horizontal bands of blue and yellow. The combination of blue and yellow as a symbol of Ukrainian lands comes from the flag of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia used in the 12th century. As a national flag, the blue and yellow bicolour has been officially used since the 1848 Spring of Nations, when it was hoisted over the Lviv Rathaus. It was officially adopted as a state flag for the first time in 1918 by the short-lived West Ukrainian People's Republic and subsequently used by the Ukrainian People's Republic. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, the flag was outlawed and, before 1949, there was no official state flag until adoption of the red-azure flag of the Ukrainian SSR. The blue and yellow flag was provisionally adopted for official ceremonies in September 1991 following Ukrainian independence, before finally officially being restored on 28 January 1992 by the parliament of Ukraine.
The flag of Zambia is the national flag of Zambia. It was adopted upon independence on 24 October 1964, by the first Republican President Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda. Before that, Zambia was the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and used a defaced Blue Ensign as its flag.
A Nordic cross flag is a flag bearing the design of the Nordic or Scandinavian cross, a cross symbol in a rectangular field, with the centre of the cross shifted towards the hoist.
The flag of the Swedish-speaking Finns is an unofficial red flag with a yellow cross used in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland to represent the Finland-Swedes. It may be flown in addition to the Finnish blue and white flag. This flag is unfamiliar to many in Finland but there have been attempts to introduce it again to a broader audience as what is known as "household pennants" demonstrating one's identity as Swedish-speaking, are more common and can be seen on many flagpoles in areas where there live many Swedish-speaking Finns, especially in countryside.
The flag of Riga is one of the official symbols of Riga, along with the coat of arms of Riga.
Many predominantly Christian states show a cross, symbolising Christianity, on their national flag. Scandinavian crosses or Nordic crosses on the flags of the Nordic countries–Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden–also represent Christianity.
Suomen lippu ei juuri yhdisty mielissämme kristinuskon ristiin.
The Christian cross, for instance, is one of the oldest and most widely used symbols in the world, and many European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Greece and Switzerland, adopted and currently retain the Christian cross on their national flags.
Legend states that a red cloth with the white cross simply fell from the sky in the middle of the 13th-century Battle of Valdemar, after which the Danes were victorious. As a badge of divine right, Denmark flew its cross in the other Scandinavian countries it ruled and as each nation gained independence, they incorporated the Christian symbol.
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