Flag of Norway

Svalbard Flag

Svalbard Flag

Svalbard is an archipelago in the far north of Europe in the Arctic Ocean. It is a dependent state of Norway and therefore its flag is also the flag of Norway. The flag of the Kingdom of Norway is a red ensign with a blue sideways cross outlined in white. This type of cross is known as the Scandinavian or Nordic cross and is common in the flags of other countries within this region. The symbolism of the flag includes the cross as a symbol for Christianity while the red, white and blue are in solidarity with America, France and England as representations of freedom. They can also represent the political unions with Denmark and Sweden. Red is for Denmark while blue is for Sweden, which are political dynasties of past and present.

Svalbard does have its own coat of arms, which is a blue shield with a depiction of the islands in the center. Over the islands in all capital letters is the word Svalbard. Above that is a half a globe depicted in fragmented squares. The word Sysselmannen is written an arc above this globe. This represents the governor of Svalbard.

The current flag of Norway has been in use since 1899. Previously, between 1844 and 1899, a similar flag was used with a small square in the upper left corner with the colors of red, blue and gold. A blue flag with a gold Nordic cross was used by ships in the 1800s, showing the influence of Sweden. Between about 1536 and 1821, the flag of Denmark represented Norway. For most of that time it was a red ensign with a white Nordic cross, but a brief period saw ships north of Cape Finisterre, Spain using a modified version with a gold lion in the upper left corner. Between 1397 and 1523, a flag of the Kalmar Union was thought to be in use. This was a gold ensign with a red Nordic cross. The earliest flag of Norway was thought to be the one used between 1318 and the 18th century. This was simply a red ensign with a golden lion carrying an ax.