Thue Christiansen was the native Greenland designer for Greenland’s flag, the only nationwide Nordic flag of a territory or country without a Nordic Cross. Locally known as the Erfalasorput, this flag contains two horizontal bands, one white and one red, together with a large disk that is red on the top and white on the bottom, and located to the left of the center. The original design for the Greenland flag was proposed in 1973, with the colors of the flag being blue, white, and green. A year later, a newspaper collected proposals for a new flag design, and out of all 11 submissions, only one of which did not contain a Nordic cross. The public was then surveyed to see which design was the most popular, and it was the flag of Denmark that received the most votes, though nothing much was done about that particular choice.
Greenland, the world’s largest island and 12th largest country in the world, was granted home rule by Denmark in 1978, and another round of 555 designs for flag proposals were received. When a decision could not be made, a request for more proposals was made. Out of these additional choices, the Christiansen design won by majority vote of 14 to 11, and it was officially adopted on June 21, 1985.
In honor of the Greenland flag’s tenth anniversary, the Post Office of Greenland issued commemorative stamps and an informational pamphlet on Christiansen, paying homage to the design of the flag and what characteristics of the island the design represented. Being that Greenland is a Danish country, the flag is comprised of the same traditional colors of the Dannebrog, the national flag of Denmark. The white stripes represent an ice cap and glaciers, and the red stripe represents the ocean. The overall semicircle represents the sun, showing that the sun is setting and reflecting on the ocean as it is half-submerged, with its bottom half sunk in the ocean. Lastly, the white semicircle refers to pack ice and icebergs, and the overall white color in the flag represents the customary heavy snowfall known to Greenland.