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The proposed flags of Finland

Flag Loops

Ultra HD looping animation of the flag available at

Max Muster
Max Muster

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Before Finland became an independent state there have been many proposals for a flag. The proposed flags of Finland as a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire in the time 1862–1918 compiled by Olof Eriksson are shown below:

Historic proposal flags as looping animations

All proposed flags are available as looping animation videos in UHD resolution for prchase and immediate download.

History of the Finnish flag

The period before independence

Finland did not get its own official flag until 1918, but even before that there are references to flags used in Finland in history. When Finland received the status of a Grand Duchy as part of Sweden and its own lion coat of arms in 1581, the colors red and yellow were introduced as national colors.

In the 1860s there was a broader discussion in Finland about having its own national flag for the first time, which was related to the Finnish national revival movement (Fennomania) in Finland. In 1863 there were a number of proposals in Finland. A proposal from Helsingfors Dagbladet showed a yellow cross on a red background, surrounded by blue stripes. Another flag proposal by Sakari Topelius had three diagonal blue stripes on a white background and a five-pointed star in the center. The newspaper also presented a flag with a white cross on a blue background. Perhaps the funniest contemporary suggestion was Otto Donner’s flag, which featured a blue diagonal stripe on a white background and whose upper right corner and lower left corner were red. Contemporaries commented that this suggestion was better suited to a candy wrapper contest.

When designing the flag, the biggest debate was whether to use the colors blue-white or red-yellow. However, this dispute ended after a short time because the flags were not presented at the state parliament. This resulted in several different flags being used in Finland at the same time. A contemporary quote reads: “In the city, lion flags flew on public buildings, and new flags of their own had appeared on the roofs of private houses: blue and white stripes, or blue stripes as in the Greek flag, or red and yellow, others with yellow stripes as in the Spanish flag, including Swedish-style flags…”

The time of independence
After Finland’s independence, the country naturally needed its own national flag. Even before the declaration of independence, the administration of the Finnish Maritime Association had submitted a request to the Senate to introduce its own merchant flag. For this purpose, a committee was formed, which included the commercial advisor Lars Krogius, the architect Eliel Saarinen and the doctor of philosophy Uuno T. Sirelius.

The committee proposed the national flag of Finland (December 8, 1917) on a background of crimson vermilion (dark red) with the pole-facing lion of the Finnish coat of arms in golden yellow and white colors. The committee proposed a yellow cross on a red background with nine white roses in the upper left corner as a maritime and commercial flag. The Senate supported the national flag proposed by the Flag Committee, but significant changes were made to the maritime and commercial flag. The Senate proposed a cross flag with a golden-yellow vertical cross surrounded by a blue-white stripe on a red background as a maritime and trade flag.

The Senate submitted its proposal to Parliament for approval, where the proposals sparked heated debate and ultimately led to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee launching a competition for artists to design the flag of Finland. However, the artists’ suggestions came slowly and it was decided that a blue and white fabric consisting of two rectangular pieces of the same size would be used as the flag of Finland by the beginning of May 1918.

This proposal also failed to receive parliamentary approval because a civil war had now broken out in Finland. Immediately after the end of the war, the development of a national flag was restarted, including the opinion of the artist Akseli Gallén-Kallela, who proposed a flag with a white cross on a blue background. This option was initially considered but ultimately rejected because, from a distance, it could be confused with the Swedish flag and resembled the flag of Iceland.

Finally, artists Eero Snellman and Bruno Tuukkanen from the Military Uniform Committee Drawing Office began designing the flag. These men put forward the following suggestions: The national flag should be a sea blue cross on a white background with the coat of arms of Finland in the center of the cross. The maritime and commercial flag should be a simple blue cross on a white background. The Constitutional Law Committee agreed to these proposals and they were submitted to Parliament. The proposals once again caused heated debate in Parliament, but the majority of MPs supported the proposed flags. On May 28, 1918, Parliament approved the proposed flags as the official flags of Finland, and that same evening the new Finnish flag was raised in the hall of the Parliament building. On February 12, 1920, by decision of the State Council, the Grand Duke’s crown was removed from the coat of arms of the state flag

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