About the Greenland flag

The flag of Greenland was designed by Greenland native Thue Christiansen. It features two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of center. The top half of the disk is red, and the bottom half is white.

Its local name in the Greenlandic language is Erfalasorput, which means "our flag," but Aappalaartoq (meaning "the red") is also used for both the Greenlandic flag and the Dannebrog. Today Greenlanders display both the Erfalasorput and the Dannebrog, often side-by-side.

Greenland first entertained the idea of a flag of its own in 1973 when five Greenlanders proposed a green, white and blue flag. The following year, a newspaper solicited eleven design proposals (all but one of which was a Nordic cross) and polled the people to determine the most popular. The Dannebrog was better liked than any. Little came of this effort.

In 1978, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, making it an equal member of the Rigsf├Žllesskab. The home rule government held an official call for flag proposals, receiving 555 (of which 293 were submitted by Greenlanders).

The deciding committee came to no consensus, so more proposals were solicited. Finally, the present red-and-white design by Christiansen narrowly won over a green-and-white Nordic cross by a vote of fourteen to eleven. Christiansen's red-and-white flag was officially adopted June 21, 1985.

To honor the tenth anniversary of the Erfalasorput, the Greenland Post Office issued commemorative stamps and a leaflet by its creator. He described the white stripe as representing the glaciers and ice cap, which cover more than 80% of the island; the red stripe, the ocean; the red semicircle, the sun, with its bottom part sunk in the ocean; and the white semicircle, the icebergs and pack ice. The design is also reminiscent of the setting sun half-submerged below the horizon and reflected on the sea. The colors of the flag are the same as those of the Dannebrog, symbolizing Greenland's place in the Danish Realm.

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