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Faroe Islands

Føroyar, Færøerne

Last modified: 2009-07-26 by edward mooney jr.
Keywords: scandinavian cross | faroe | faeroe | ram |
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[Flag of the Faroe Islands] by Edward Mooney, Jr., 28 January 2008

See also:

Description of the flag

The flag of the Faroe Islands is a red Scandinavian cross, fimbriated blue. The horizontal dimensions of the flag are 6:1:2:1:12, the vertical ones 6:1:2:1:6.
Mark Sensen, 26 September, 27 November 1995

The construction sheet is equal to that of the Norwegian flag (6+1+2+1+6):(6+1+2+1+12). A note in Album des Pavillons (2000) explains that the Danish national flag may also be flown. I am not sure what that means - it may be that it is flown instead of the civil ensign by vessels registered in Faroes, or it is appropriate to use the Dannebrog as a courtesy flag, or it is appropriate for state offices to use Dannebrog instead and so on?
Željko Heimer, 12 June 2001

The flag of the Faroe Islands is called "Merkið".
Arni Nielsen, 27 January 2003

Not that I speak Faroese, but I assume that this word have the same meaning as (the similar word) in Norwegian and Danish. Merkið: The mark, or the symbol.
Jostein Nygård, 28 January 2003

Historically, the blue colour of the Faroese flag has changed. When the flag was officially recognized by Danish authorities in 1948, the blue was described as "dark blue". However, in the Faroese flag law of 1959, the blue was described as "azure" - a much lighter colour. Finally, a step back to a darker blue was taken on 29. December 1998 when the Faroese Parliament specified the flag's colours in the Pantone system. Blue was to match PMS 300, red PMS 032. Red was, by the way, first described as "high red" in 1948, then as "fagurreyður" ("fair red"?) in 1959.
Jan Oskar Engene, 9 May 2003

In the Faroes it is not acceptable to fly two flags on the same rope or pole. However flying two flags side by side is a sign of respect. No one is superior or inferior. They must have the same size, or as close as possible. Not all flags have the same proportions, but they must appear to be about the same size. It does not matter if a flag is national or regional, for example the Sami and the Shetland flags.
Jógvan Jacobsen, 25 March 2004

About dimensions in Scandinavian flags

[Scandinavian Cross dimensions] image by Edward Mooney, Jr. 1999-12-20

Scandinavian crosses are measured by the width of the color, as shown in the diagram above. In the case of the Faroe Islands, horizontally there are 6 units of white, 1 unit of blue, 2 units of red, 1 unit of blue, and 12 units of white. Vertically the flag has 6 units of white, 1 unit of blue, 2 units of red, 1 unit of blue and 6 units of white.

See also: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Edward Mooney, Jr. 20 December 1999

History of the flag

The flag of the Faroes was first made by Faroese students in Copenhagen and later brought to the Faroes where it was first hoisted 22 June 1919. About a decade, in 1931, later it came into common but unofficial use. When Denmark was occupied by German forces in April 1940, British troops took the islands and a need to distinguish the ships of the Faroes from those of occupied Denmark occurred. On 25 April 1940 British authorities approved the flag as the ensign of the Faroes. With the Home Rule Act of 23 March 1948 the flag was finally recognized as the national flag of the Faroes. 25 April has been made Flag Day. The flag carries the name Merkid, meaning the sign or banner. The dominant white colour is said to represent the pure sky as well as the foam of the waves breaking against the coasts of the islands, red and blue are both colours found in traditional Faroese headdress. At the same time the colours are those of the flags of Norway and Iceland. The proportions are 6-1-2-1-6 (hoist), 6-1-2-1-12 (fly).

From the Faroes Islands' web site:

"Another important characteristic of [the island of] Suduroy is the making of the very first flag. The flag "Merkid" was composed by two students, Jens Olivur Lisberg and Emil Joensen, in 1919, and since 1955 has been stored in the church in Fámjin, where it can still be seen."

Visit the Faroe Islands' web site

Sven Tito Achen: "The Flag of the Faroes", The Flag Bulletin, Vol XVII, No 5, 1978, pp. 144-157
Jonathan Wylie: The Faroe Islands: Interpretations of History, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1987, pp. 166-167
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 October 1995

On 5 June 1959 the present lighter blue was authorized. Before it had the same shade of blue as Norway.
Mark Sensen, 23 October 1995

Coat of arms

[Faeroes coat of arms]image located by Nozomi Kariyasu, 24 November 2007

Source: Helge Jacobsen, Flagg og flaggbruk på Færøyene, Nordisk Flaggkontakt, v. 45, p. 13-18

Earlier this year the Faroese government started using a new drawing of the old Faroese coat of arms, the silver ram on blue, see: Previously, the Faroese government used a circular emblem with the ram's head only.
Jan Oskar Engene, 6 December 2004

The shield with full ram is the traditional coat of arms, but the Faroese government used the disc with the head only until 2004, when a new drawing of the traditional arms replaced it.
Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2007

The new drawing of the arms was made by Danish Royal armorial painted Ronny Andersen. More of his splendid designs can be seen on his home page at
Jan Oskar Engene, 24 November 2007

The swallowtail flag

[Flag of the Faroe Islands - Swallowtail]

Jan Egil Kristiansen, of the Faroe Islands, sent a photograph of a swallow-tailed Faroe Islands flag. He informs us that this is an unofficial flag, but they do exist there.