World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Flag of Greenland

Names Erfalasorput ("our flag"), Aappalaartoq ("the red")
Use Civil and state flag, civil ensign
Proportion 2:3
Adopted June 21, 1985[1]
Design A horizontal bicolor 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 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—often side-by-side. The flag of Greenland is the only national flag of a Nordic country or territory without a Nordic Cross.


  • History 1
  • Other proposals 2
  • Similar Flags 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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. 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).

Flag of Greenland construction.

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. Christiansen's red-and-white flag was officially adopted on 21 June 1985.[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. 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, the public was made aware that Greenland's flag had exactly the same motive 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 has given Greenland permission to use their flag.[3]

The colours of the flag are the same as those of the Dannebrog, symbolising Greenland's place in the Danish realm.

Other proposals

File:FIAV proposal.svgThe first serious proposal from 1973, suggesting green, white and blue would be appropriate
The first serious proposal from 1973, suggesting green, white and blue would be appropriate
File:FIAV proposal.svgThe Nordic Cross proposal by Sven Tito Achen in 1984 which was narrowly defeated by the current flag
The Nordic Cross proposal by Sven Tito Achen in 1984 which was narrowly defeated by the current flag
File:FIAV proposal.svgAnonymous proposal in 1991 (white for the ice of Greenland, green for the name
Anonymous proposal in 1991 (white for the ice of Greenland, green for the name "Greenland")
File:FIAV proposal.svgAnother proposal based heavily on the Dannebrog
Another proposal based heavily on the Dannebrog

Similar Flags

See also


  1. ^ a b Politics in Greenland – Government of Greenland
  2. ^ a b "Greenland's flag".  
  3. ^ "(Danish) Grønland må gerne bruge roklub-flag". Politiken. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 

External links

  • FOTW: Greenland - History of the Erfalasorput
  • Other flag proposals for a Nordic cross design
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.