Greenland flag

The Greenland flag is made up of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one being white and the lower one being red. Centered in height, a circle appears whose radius is 4 parts and the center is 7 parts of the pole, the upper half being red while the lower half is white.

The name of the flag in Greenlandic is Erfalasorput, which means “our flag”, but it is also called Aappalaartoq, which means “the red one”, an appellation that is also used to refer to the Danish Dannebrog.


It was in 1973 that Greenland first raised the question of having its own flag when five Greenlanders proposed a green, white and red flag. The following year, a local newspaper called for eleven proposals (all but one contained a Nordic cross) and put them to a popular vote, but the Dannebrog was preferred over the others.

The proposed flag of the Nordic countries with the Scandinavian Cross.
In 1978, Denmark gave in to Greenlandic pressure for more autonomy. The home government issued a public call for flag proposals, receiving 555 designs (of which 293 were submitted by Greenlanders). As the committee in charge of the election did not reach any agreement, new designs were requested. Finally, the design presented by Thue Christiansen was chosen, winning, by 14 votes to 11, the other finalist design, a Nordic cross with the colors green and white. The new flag was officially adopted on June 21, 1985.

In 1995, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Erfalasorput, the Greenland Post Office issued a series of commemorative stamps, and a booklet written by Thue Christiansen was published. In this brochure the author said: the white part of the flag symbolizes the ice cap and our fjords are represented by the red part of the circle. The white part of the circle symbolizes icebergs and the ice pack, and the red part of the flag represents the ocean. He also pointed out: The colors are the same as in the Dannebrog (the national flag of Denmark) and therefore we can continue to call our flag “Aappalaartoq”, the red one.

Flag symbolism

According to Christiansen, the creator of the flag, the upper white part of the flag represents the glaciers, which cover 80% of the island. The lower red part represents the sea. The red semicircle recalls the sun and the white semicircle evokes the icebergs that drift off the coast of the country. The flag also recalls the setting sun reflecting in the sea.


Proportions for making the flag
Proportions for making the flag

Its design is a 2:3 width-to-length rectangle divided horizontally into equal parts with the upper white and the lower red. In the center of the flag, slightly shifted to the right of the 7:11 ratio, there is a disk whose diameter is 2/3 the width of the flag. This disc is also split horizontally in half, with the colors of the disc halves being inverted in relation to the bands, the lower one being white and the upper one being red. The red of the flag is pantone color 185C.

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