Flag of Sweden

Flag of Sweden
Country Sweden
Population 10,612,086 (2023)
Area (Km²) 410,340 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇸🇪
  hex rgb
#006AA7 0, 106, 167
#FECC02 254, 204, 2

The flag of Sweden consists of a blue background and a yellow cross placed closer to the inner edge of the flag. In shape and appearance, it is very similar to the Danish flag (Dannebrog), which is the oldest flag in the world.

Meaning of the flag of Sweden

  • The blue color on the Swedish flag symbolizes royalty and national pride. It also reflects the tranquil beauty of Swedish landscapes, such as the Baltic Sea and the sky. In Swedish culture, the color blue is a symbol of justice, loyalty and truth;

  • The yellow cross represents prosperity, generosity and enlightenment. It also symbolizes Christianity and the historical wealth and achievements of the Swedish people. 

The yellow cross on the blue field of the flag was inspired by the Swedish coat of arms, which has existed since 1442. It shows the unbroken tradition of using these colors in Swedish symbolism over the centuries.

The origin of the Swedish flag

Some historians claim that the flag of Sweden originated from the personal seal of Carl Knutson Bonde, while others claim that it is the flag of the Danish resistance. It was in the mid-15th century, and this theory is supported by the fact that Carl Knutson Bonde's colors were yellow and blue.

His personal seal has a part that resembles a yellow cross. During this period, Sweden was also at war with Denmark, so it is not surprising that the king chose a similar flag, but with his own colors.

Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, as the first official mention of the Swedish flag appeared in the 16th century, in April 1562, in a royal letter. The letter states that the Swedish flag should be "yellow and divided into two parts".

Unfortunately, little information about the origin of the Swedish flag has survived. However, the colors of the Swedish flag have been used for a long time, including in the national coat of arms - the three crowns.

History of the Swedish flag

The blue and yellow flag gained popularity in the 17th century and quickly became a symbol of the Swedish navy. On October 26, 1818, a flag was introduced for use in "distant waters", i.e. beyond Cape Finisterre in northwestern Spain, as an alternative to the standard Swedish civilian flag. The flag looked like a regular Swedish flag, but with a white cross on a red background in the canton representing Norway. By royal decree of July 17, 1821, the flag was approved as the only Norwegian and Swedish civilian flag in "distant waters".

After the conclusion of the Swedish-Norwegian union in 1844, the sign of the union of the two countries (Swedish: unionsmärket or unionstecknet, Norwegian: unionsmerket) appeared. The sign combined the colors of the Norwegian flag (blue, white, red) and the Swedish flag (blue, yellow), evenly distributed to reflect their equal status in the union. The mark looked like a folded envelope on the background of the Norwegian flag with some differences: in the original, the Scandinavian cross is placed to the left of the center, while on the union mark it is in the center of the flag and only a vertical blue line with a white outline is visible. The horizontal yellow line was taken from the Swedish flag. Visually, the result is two triangles with their vertices turned toward the center to the left and right of the Swedish flag, and similar triangles with their vertices turned toward the center at the top and bottom of the Norwegian flag.

History of the Swedish flag

After the dissolution of the union in 1905, the Swedish flag became a status symbol - having your own flagpole and flag to show your support for Sweden. In the past, Swedish flags were mostly used by government and military institutions. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Swedish flag retained its appearance, only removing the Norwegian flag.

In 1906, the exact shape and colors of the Swedish flag were legislated. This was to ensure that everyone used the same Swedish flag.

When is Swedish Flag Day?

Every year on June 6, Sweden's National Day and Swedish Flag Day are celebrated. June 6 is an important historical date because it was on this day in 1523 that Gustav Vasa was crowned king, which also meant that the Kalmar Union was dissolved. A few hundred years later, Charles XIII signed the Constitution of 1809, also on June 6.

However, it wasn't until 1916 that the Swedish Flag Day began to be celebrated properly, with the first celebration taking place in Stockholm and more than a hundred other locations across the country. The biggest celebration took place in a packed Stockholm stadium, where the king was also present.

Swedish Flag Day became an official national holiday in 1983. In 2005, it received an official day off as a public holiday.