Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in northern Europe, bordered by Finland and Norway. By area, it is the third largest country in the European Union. Sweden has a rich history and wonderful traditions that encompass the love of their flag.
The flag of Sweden, like many Scandinavian flags, bears a cross that extends to the edges of the cloth. The cross, long-ago described as gold, is yellow on the current Swedish flag, while the background is blue. The cross represents both Christianity and Scandinavia as it is seen on most of the Scandinavian flags. Blue and yellow were chosen as they are the colors of the Swedish national arms. The design is based on the Danish flag.
While the exact age of the Swedish flag is unknown, the earliest pictures depicting it appeared in the early 16th century. The Royal warrant of April 19, 1562 stated the first legal description of the flag. The early 19th century saw the addition of a white saltire on a red square in the upper left corner of Sweden’s flag to represent Sweden’s unification with Norway. This was later removed and the blue of the flag lightened a few shades.
The current flag of Sweden was officially adopted on June 22, 1906. Two important historical events took place on June 22. First, in 1562, King Gustav I. Vasa took reign over Sweden and thus Sweden broke apart from Denmark. Additionally, in 1806, the Swedish Constitution was adopted. Today, June 22 is known as Flag Day in Sweden.
There are many rules about flying the flag of Sweden including the size of the flag in relation to the pole it flies from. It may only be flown during daylight hours and should be lowered by 9PM, except in times of war. Additionally, there are specific days when the flag should be flown, particularly Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, and special days relating to Swedish royalty, including the King’s birthday. Swedish protocol states that when a flag is no longer suitable for flying, it should be used for nothing else and should be burnt.
It is also interesting to note that there are several flags that are composed in a similar fashion as the Swedish flag. The flags of the cities of Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia Pennsylvania are modeled after the Swedish flag. The addition of each city’s seal makes the flags unique, but the flags were designed in remembrance of the short lived colony of New Sweden.
The Swedish flag’s rich history affords it an honored position in the country. Swedes may love their Swedish Meatballs but they respect and care for their flag with integrity.