The island of Jan Mayen is found near the borders of two seas – the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea. The island was named after Jan Mayen, a dutch whaling caption from the 1600’s as the island has a rich history of whaling and hunting. Many of the early visitors to the island of Jan Mayen stationed themselves on the island while whaling in the nearby seas. Once the whales became scarce, the island lost much of its visitors for years. Centuries later, the island became a hub for meteorological information.
The island is a volcanic island that is part of Norway, and has been since the Norwegian government purchased the island in 1930. Having no official flag or ensign, the flag of Jan Mayen is actually the flag of Norway.
The main background color of the flag is red, with an off-centered Scandinavian cross of azure blue surrounded by white. The colors of red and blue are used to symbolize Denmark and Sweden. The white was derived from the Denmark flag. The blue derived from Sweden. The cross symbolizes Christian religion. One portion of the cross, the perpendicular portion, should be placed toward the flagpole. When placed properly, the Denmark ensign, or the Dannebrog, is shown.
Previous versions of the Norwegian flag included a crowned golden lion. There was also an ax found on a background of red. These versions of the flag of Norway existed up until the 18th century when it was gradually phased out to morph into the flag used today.
The current Norwegian flag was adopted in 1821. The premise for the flag came from a member of Danish Parliament, Frederik Meltzer. Meltzer proposed adding a blue cross to the flag as a way to represent Norway’s current union with Sweden and its past collaboration with Denmark. The colors of red, white, and blue were chosen to represent liberty.
One interesting rumor behind the creation of the flag of Norway was Frederik Meltzer’s son, Gerhard, originated the idea behind the flag. While the rumor adds a spice and interesting flair to the history of the Norwegian flag, unfortunately the rumor is false. Credit has been given to Frederik Meltzer for the premise of the flag and not Gerhard.