The Flag Of Denmark - Introducing World's Oldest Flag

August 20, 2021

Aside from loving their royal family, Danish people also love the Flag of Denmark - so much that they hang it up everywhere whenever they celebrate anything- birthdays, graduation, you name it.

You already learn how to say thank you and Yes and no in Danish. Why not impress the locals with your knowledge of the Danish flag on your trip to Copenhagen (the official capital of Denmark)? It will definitely earn you brownie points since they take great pride in their national flag.

 

History & Legend

One of the unique features of the Danish flag is that it is so old it has its legend on the origin of the flag. Generations after generations, Danish parents, make sure to tell this legendary story to their children. The story highlighted how the flag fell from the sky (if you think this is funny, think twice before making jokes about it).

The history started in 1219. There was a campaign in present-day Estonia. The Danish army was lead by the King of Danes Valdemar the Victorious, and to put it simply, they were not doing ok. However, before they could make a move to retreat, a red cloth fell out of the sky, and on it is a white cross, a common sign of Christianity. The Danish army decided that it was a sign from heaven; hence, they pushed on. Guess what? They won! The army can feel the exact moment when tides are turned, and they finally have the upper hand in the battle. Since then, they decided to keep the cloth as their national symbol.

The Age Of The Danish Flag

Since historians and fans claimed the Denmark flag had been around since the historical event of the Battle of Lindanise of 1219, therefore the flag's age is over 800 years old. In fact, the Danes celebrated the flag's 80th birthday in 2019. So, in conclusion, this Flag of Denmark is ancient. It holds the world record of being the oldest continuously used national flag.

The Danish flag became popular as a national flag in the early 16th century. It was once outlawed for private use in the 19th century; however, it was permitted again in 1854. This later allows Danish citizens to display the Denmark flag on their premises (but not the Splitflag, which will be explained below).

 

The National Flag

The name of the Danish Flag is Dannebrog (Pronunciation: Danny-bghouk), which translates "danish cloth". Interestingly, the name "Dannebrog" is so significant that the red from the flag is called Dannebrog Red.

Physical Appearance

The design of the Denmark Flag should be the most familiar among other Scandinavian flags. The Nordic Cross (also the white cross) sits prominently on top of the red field, while the cross parts seem closer to the hoist side instead of being in the center.

The fact that the Denmark flag is the oldest might influence the neighboring countries' national flag. You can observe that each Nordic country (plus Iceland and Finland) use Scandinavian flags, which all have the same shape for their national flags- the Nordic or Scandinavian cross in the same position, but with different colors.

The Flag Of Denmark

Symbolism

There is no particular meaning that Denmark officially claimed. The only obvious shape is the white cross which symbolizes the traditional Christian cross - since they believed it fell from heaven in the first place, while the white color represents peace. While the Dannebrog Red represents the battle and bloodshed or the Danish people's bravery and strength for the Danish Kingdom.

The Naval Flag Of Denmark

The Danish uses the same flag for their Merchant Flag; the same design is used for the Naval Flag of Denmark, but instead of the usual rectangular flag, it has a swallow-tailed and is named the Splittflag.

The first law regarding the Splitflag can be found in 1630, where the king orders that it should only be used on merchant ships if they are in Danish war service. After a few changes in the regulations, from around the 17th century to the early 19th century, many ships and companies the government support receive the approval to use the Splitflag.

Rules

Denmark is just like other countries. They all take pride in their flags as it symbolizes their identity. However, this country decided to have protocols to ensure the flag is never disrespected in any way, and the result is a rule book 70 pages long. I'm pretty sure none of us can sit through that. So here are some of the basic rules.

  • Proportions are important, don't go against the 3:1:3 width. It has been there since the late 1700s for a reason.
  • Royals can only use the Splitflag.
  • You need permission from authorities to fly other flags in Denmark, except other Scandinavian countries' flags.
  • Please dispose of the flag through burning once it is worn out.

 

When Can You Put Up The Flag

The answer is you are free to do so any day and any time. Even though you can see the flag anywhere in Denmark, there are certain special state days and events when you can see the flag everywhere! For example, around someone's house, at your local shopping mall as a banner, on buildings, and many more. Here are some occasions that you can celebrate along with the flag, according to Danish people.

  1. June 15th: According to historians, the battle lead by Valdemar was on June 15th, 1219
  2. Royal Family celebrations: birthdays, for example.
  3. Christmas
  4. Good Friday: On this day, the flag is flown only at half-mast
  5. Birthdays, christenings, weddings, and any other celebrations

 

Learn More About Denmark And Danish Language

Now it's time to show off your knowledge of the Dannebrog to the people of Denmark. While you're at it, why not put learning Danish on your to-do list? You can easily achieve that by downloading the Ling App and study the language at your own pace. The Ling App can teach you everything you need to know about a language. Furthermore, you can learn other languages once you master a language because the app offers more than 60 languages you can learn. Consistency is key.

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