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Åland Islands

Åland, Ahvenanmaa

Last modified: 2014-03-28 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: finland | aaland islands | ahvenanmaa | scandinavian cross |
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[Flag of the Åland Islands]
image by Phil Nelson, 17 May 2007
Proportions: 17:26


ISO Code: AX ALA 248; FI-AL
FIPS 10-4 Code: FI
MARC Code: fi
IOC Code: FIN
Status: autonomous area of Finland
Finnish Name: Ahvenanmaa
Language: Swedish is the language used in the Åland Islands


Åland Islands: Index of Pages

Related Pages:

External links


Description of the flag

The flag of the Åland Islands (Finnish: Ahvenanmaa, Swedish: Åland) is blue with a red Scandinavian cross fimbriated yellow.
Mark Sensen, 27 November 1995


Dimensions of the flag

The dimensions of the flag of the Åland Islands are 16:3:4:3:26 horizontally and 12:3:4:3:12 vertically.
Mark Sensen, 25 September 1995
James Dignan, 26 September 1995


History of the flag

When Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, the Åland islanders feared for their Swedish language and culture and mobilized for a reunion with Sweden. In the Middle Ages the Åland archipelago was a province of Sweden. Ecclesiastically the islands belonged to the diocese of Abo (Turku) in Finland, and so the province was lost to Russia in 1809. The issue was finally settled by the League of Nations in 1921. The islands were to be a part of Finland, but they were to enjoy autonomy.

However, a flag was not granted until 1954. Unofficially a blue-yellow-blue triband had been in use from 1922. Several versions existed, the dominating one had equal horizontal bands. Another version had a narrower band of yellow - as when the vertical yellow stripe in the cross on the Swedish flag is taken away.

Blue and yellow were naturally the favourite colours, being both the colours of Sweden and the colours of the provincial coat of arms (a golden deer on blue), Therefore, when preparing a design for adoption in the early 1950s, the favoured design was a Scandinavian cross design of a blue field and a yellow and blue cross - that is, the flag of Sweden with an extra blue cross in the middle. This proposal was rejected by the president of Finland as too similar to the Swedish flag. Alternative designs were the old blue-yellow-blue triband, the flag of Finland with an extra yellow cross in the middle, and a design where a red cross was added to the Swedish pattern.

The outcome of the process was the adoption of the blue-yellow- red Scandinavian cross design. This flag was first hoisted on the town hall in the provincial capital Mariehamn 3 April 1954. The red colour was controversial at first, because people felt it lacked a local tradition. However, the colours can be said to come from the provincial coat of arms (blue and yellow - also Sweden's colours) and the colours of the coat of arms of Finland (red and yellow). Also, experts in heraldry have found out that at one point a Swedish king hoisted a flag of exactly the same design.

Source: Erik Tudeer and Lars-Øyvind Liljestrom: Ålands flagga, [tla94] Mariehamn: Nordens Institut på Åland, 1994, ISBN: 952-90-5534-X (40 pages, 10 colour illustrations mostly of proposed designs)
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 October 1995


Usage of the flag

According to current (1992) legislation pertaining to the flag, the proportions are set as 17:26. The parts are defined as 6-1.5- 2-1.5-6 (hoist), 8-1.5-2-1.5-13 (fly). The colours are described as medium blue, golden yellow and (simply) red. Official flag days are Åland Flag Day, the last Sunday of April, and Autonomy Day, 9 June. There is also a provision against the misuse of the flag.

Source: Erik Tudeer and Lars-Øyvind Liljestrom: Ålands flagga, [tla94] Mariehamn: Nordens Institut på Åland, 1994, ISBN: 952-90-5534-X (40 pages, 10 colour illustrations mostly of proposed designs)
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 October 1995


The 1992 flag law also requires vessels operated by the government of Åland to use the Åland flag. This means that the Åland flag is also the state ensign within the Åland autonomy context. One can then say that the Åland flag is now filling the four functions it can possibly fill: Civil and state flag and civil and state ensign civil and state land and sea graphic

Åland is a demilitarized area.
Jan Oskar Engene, 14 December, 1998


The revised autonomy act (1991) for the Åland Islands gave the autonomy authorities increased powers to pass legislation concerning the use of the Åland flag, especially as concerns its use at sea. Making use of these powers, the legislative assembly of Aland passed a flag law, approved by the president of Finland on 3. August 1992 and published in Mariehamn 13. August 1992, that made the Aland flag into a civil ensign. The flag act took effect on 1. January 1993. The use of the Åland civil ensign is optional, and thus only an alternative to the Finnish civil ensign for vessels belonging in the islands.

Further, the 1992 flag law gave the Åland government the power to introduce a special ensign for leisure vessels. This was done on 17. September 1998.
Jan Oskar Engene, 24 May 1999


Official Colors

Authorities in Åland recently officially specified the colours of the Åland flag, previously only described in law as medium blue, red and yellow. According to Province Regulations No. 15, 2004, issued in Mariehamn on 8 April 2004, the flag's colours are specified in three different systems:

  1. Natural Colour System
    Medium blue = 3065-R90B
    Yellow = 0580-Y10R
    Red = 1085-Y90R
  2. Pantone Matching System
    Medium blue = 2945C and 300U
    Yellow = 116C and 109U
    Red = 186C and 185U
  3. CMYK
    Medium blue = C100-M54-Y2-K0
    Yellow = C0-M16-Y100-K0
    Red = C6-M100-Y100-K0

The provincial regulation on the matter can be found here (in Swedish): http://www.ls.aland.fi/.composer/upload/modules/lagar/afs2004_nr15.pdf
Jan Oskar Engene, 19 May 2004


Provincial Banner of Arms

[Åland Island Banner of Arms] image by António Martins

The flag is a banner of the arms; arms granted in 1560, present blazon adopted on 18 April 1951.

Although the cross flag is most widely used, also officially, this provincial banner of the arms is (even if almost forgotten) still official.
António Martins, 24 October 2000


Blazon

Official blazon in Swedish: "I blått fält en gående hjort av guld. Skölden krönes med grevskapets krona."

Official blazon in Finnish: "Sinisessä kentässä kävelevä kultainen saksanhirvi. Kruunu: kreivikunnan kruunu."

Blazoned in English: "Azure, a stag passant or. The shield's crown is a count's crown."
English blazon by Lewis A. Nowitz, 13 March 2002


Communes (Municipalities)

The following municipalities are located in the Åland Islands. We do not have any information on flags at this time.

Åland Islands Communes
Source: Eurostat, 2003
(Note: links in the table below go to the municipality's homepage)
Name Municipal
Code
Official Finnish Swedish
Brändö   Brändö 035
Eckerö   Eckerö 043
Finström   Finström 060
Föglö   Föglö 062
Geta   Geta 065
Hammarland   Hammarland 076
Jomala   Jomala 170
Kökar   Kökar 318
Kumlinge   Kumlinge 295
Lemland   Lemland 417
Lumparland   Lumparland 438
Mariehamn Maarianhamina Mariehamn 478
Saltvik   Saltvik 736
Sottunga   Sottunga 766
Sund   Sund 771
Vårdö   Vårdö 941