Greenland’s main national symbol has several meanings and is closely associated with the history of this cold island, characterizing the unique climatic conditions and the unique, natural terrain of the territory.
This is what the modern flag of Greenland looks like:
History of the flag
The first attempts to create our own and unique flag began in 1973, the government announced a competition for the best idea. Unfortunately, the government could not come to a final decision immediately, so the symbol of the country was not approved, although 500 works were considered.
With the advent of the island’s independence, the issue of the flag was raised again, again several projects were created to develop a new symbol. And only June 21, 1985 was finally approved form of the modern flag of Greenland. The winner and author, the main symbol of the country, was the teacher and artist – Tue Kristiansen. The symbol of the largest island in the world has its own name – Erfalesorput, which literally means “our flag”.
Tue Kristiansen, a native of the island, was Greenland’s Minister of Culture and Education until 1983.
The Scandinavian flag was used as the basis of construction for the symbol of Greenland. The standard rectangular-shaped cloth has two horizontal stripes, the lower part in red and the upper part in white. On the two strips, almost in the center, with an offset to the left edge, is an even circle, also a red and white combination. The red part of the circle lies on the half of the strip that is painted white, and the lighter part of the circle is on the strip with the red color. The resulting image is quite distinctive from the state banners of the Scandinavian countries.
The construction of the Greenland flag
There are only two classic colors on the canvas:
According to the color chart, the Pantone Color Institute, the scarlet color of the Greenlandic state cloth is under the number 032. So the saturation and warmth of the red hue is strictly controlled, in order to avoid misrepresentation at administrative events.
The basic color scheme is entirely borrowed from the Danish flag, as a sign that today the autonomous island is formally under the authority of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland has been a Danish colony since 1814, before that period it belonged to Norway.
Meaning of colors and flag symbol
The combination of white and red colors symbolizes the two hundred years of Greenland’s existence as a full-fledged part within the Kingdom of Denmark. The area of white means eternal glaciers, snowy mountain peaks, and the red stripe means the ocean around the island.
The colors of the circle also have a separate meaning, the white lower part denotes icebergs, and the red is interpreted as the rocks of the Greenland fjords.
The circle in the center has a second meaning: it symbolizes the red, setting sun, which goes over the horizon. The white part of the circle signifies the light and warmth that returns to the island after the polar night, closer to the summer solstice.
The fact that the flag does not bear any image of the cross, a traditional Christian symbol in Scandinavian states, suggests that the country has autonomy from European powers. This includes the fact that the island of Greenland has a degree of political freedom, but with close ties to the indigenous Inuit peoples.
Thus, the country’s flag, in just two colors, fully reflects the historical dependence, for two centuries, on another state. The refusal to use the traditional elements of Catholicism, means freedom of choice in favor of the traditions of local peoples. And the symbolic circle in the center can be interpreted with different meanings, but all of them in one way or another have to do with the unique nature of Greenland.
General information about Greenland
|Official language||Greenlandic, Danish|
|Territory||2 166 086 km2|