Flag of Greenland

Last updated
Flag of Greenland.svg
Names Erfalasorput ("our flag"), Aappalaartoq ("the red")
Use National flag and civil ensign
Adopted1 May 1989 [1]
DesignA horizontal bicolour of white and red (PMS 186C), with a counterchanged disk slightly off-centre towards the hoist.
Designed by Thue Christiansen

The flag of Greenland was designed by Greenland native Thue Christiansen. [2] It features two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of centre. The top half of the disk is red, the bottom half is white. The top half of the flag bears a slight resemblance to the Flag of Japan as a result. 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.


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 Flag of greenland construction.png
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 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 1 May 1989. [2]

To honour the tenth anniversary of the Erfalasorput, 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 Erfalasorput are the same as those of the Dannebrog , symbolizing Greenland's place in the Danish realm. [8]

Other proposals

See also

Related Research Articles

Flag of Denmark National flag

The flag of Denmark is red with a white Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side.

Flag Piece of fabric with a distinctive design

A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design and colours. It is used as a symbol, a signalling device, or for decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed, and flags have evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging. The study of flags is known as "vexillology" from the Latin vexillum, meaning "flag" or "banner".

Greenland Large island in northeastern North America

Greenland is the world's largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium. The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors migrated from Alaska through Northern Canada, gradually settling across the island by the 13th century.

National flag Flag of a country or nation

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.

History of Greenland aspect of history

The history of Greenland is a history of life under extreme Arctic conditions: currently, an ice sheet covers about 80 percent of the island, restricting human activity largely to the coasts.

Flag of Finland National flag

The flag of Finland, also called Siniristilippu, dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity.

Flag of South Africa National flag

The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The new national flag, designed by the then State Herald of South Africa Frederick Brownell, was chosen to represent the country's new democracy after the end of apartheid.

Flag of Norway National flag

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.

Flag of Chechnya flag

The flag of Chechnya is a rectangle with sides in the ratio 2:3, the same ratio as the flag of the Russian Federation. The flag is composed of three horizontal bars of, from top to bottom: green, representing Islam; white; and red; superimposed on them is a narrow vertical white band at the hoist, containing the national ornament, a design of four golden scroll shapes. The horizontal bars are in the proportions 4:1:3.

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina National flag

The flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina contains a wide medium blue vertical band on the fly side with a yellow right triangle abutting the band and the top of the flag. The remainder of the flag is medium blue with seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars top and bottom along the hypotenuse of the triangle.

Flag of Myanmar National flag

The current flag of Myanmar was adopted on 21 October 2010 to replace the former flag in use since 1974. The new flag was introduced along with implementing changes to the country's name, which were laid out in the 2008 Constitution.

Flag of the Faroe Islands national flag

The flag of the Faroe Islands is an offset cross, representing Christianity. It is similar in design to other Nordic flags – a tradition set by the Dannebrog of Denmark, of which the Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory.

Flag of Kuwait National flag

The flag of Kuwait was adopted on September 7, 1961, and officially hoisted November 24, 1961. Before 1961, the flag of Kuwait was red and white, like those of other Persian Gulf states at the time, with the field being red and words or charges being written in white.

Flag of Lithuania National flag

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.

Nordic cross flag flag bearing the design of the Nordic or Scandinavian cross

The Nordic cross flag is any one of several flags bearing the design of the Nordic or Scandinavian cross, a cross symbol in a rectangular field, with the center of the cross shifted towards the hoist.

Flag of Western Sahara National flag

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, commonly known as Western Sahara, uses a national flag consisting of a black, white and green horizontal tricolor charged with a red star and crescent in the center stripe and a red chevron at the hoist. It is used on Polisario-controlled areas, while the Moroccan flag is used on the rest of the occupied territory.

Danish Realm political relationship between the constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark

The Danish Realm or the Realm of Denmark consists of Denmark proper and its two autonomous territories: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Together they are organized in the sovereign state the Kingdom of Denmark. The relationship between the three parts of the Kingdom is commonly known as The unity of the Realm.

Outline of Greenland Overview of and topical guide to Greenland

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Greenland:


  1. 1 2 "Politics in Greenland – Government of Greenland". Archived from the original on 2017-10-15. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  2. 1 2 "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". www.grida.no. 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" . Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  6. "Greenland (Denmark)". flagspot.net. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  7. "(Danish) Grønland må gerne bruge roklub-flag". Politiken. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  8. "The Greenland Flag". Nordic Co-operation.