Meaning of the Flags of Europe

Updated May 6, 2018 / João Leitão /
Meaning of the Flags of Europe

Meaning of the Flags of Europe

Flags of Europe

The flags represent the national identity of each country. Each color has a meaning in the history of nations. European flags vary on color and meaning. On this page, I list all flags of Europe and their colors.

Flag of AlbaniaFlag of Andorra

Flag of Albania

2 colors: red, black.
Meaning of the flag of Albania: Red symbolizes hardiness, bravery, strength and courage shown by the people and the willingness to defend freedom. The black two-headed eagle in the center represents government and church, two important part in Albania’s history and national identity.

Flag of Andorra

3 colors: blue, yellow, red.
Meaning of the flag of Andorra: The colors represent Andorra’s independence from France and Spain. Blue and red were taken from France; red and yellow were taken from Spain. The coat of arms contains the motto at the bottom: “Strength United is Stronger”.

Flag of ArmeniaFlag of Austria

Flag of Armenia

3 colors: red, blue, orange.
Meaning of the flag of Armenia: Red symbolizes the blood spilt by Armenian soldiers in war, maintenance of the Christian faith, Armenia’s independence and freedom; blue represents the will of the people of Armenia to live in peaceful skies; orange stands for the creative talent and hard working nature of the people of this country.

Flag of Austria

2 colors: red, white.
Meaning of the flag of Austria: The red and white colors on the Austria Flag symbolize the white coat worn by the Duke of Austria during a battle, which was soaked in blood after the fight.

Flag of AzerbaijanFlag of Belarus

Flag of Azerbaijan

3 colors: blue, red, green.
Meaning of the flag of Azerbaijan: Blue represents the Turks; green symbolizes Islam; red is for progress. The eight points of the star represent the eight branches of the Turkic people.

Flag of Belarus

3 colors: white, red, green.
Meaning of the flag of Belarus: Green represents the future, spring, hope, revival and the forests and fields of the country; red symbolizes the blood shed in the past to achieve independence. The decorative pattern on the side represents Belarus’ rich cultural heritage, its spiritual continuity and the unity of its people.

Flag of BelgiumFlag of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Flag of Belgium

3 colors: black, yellow, red.
Meaning of the flag of Belgium: All the colors in the Belgium flag (black, yellow and red) represent the country’s coat of arms. Black symbolizes the shield; yellow is for the lion; red stands for the lion’s claws and tongue.

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina

2 colors: blue, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Blue represents truth, dedication, justice and integrity; yellow stands for liberality. The three points of the triangle symbolize the three nations of Bosnia: Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats. The white stars represent Europe.

Flag of BulgariaFlag of Croatia

Flag of Bulgaria

3 colors: white, green, red.
Meaning of the flag of Bulgaria: Green represents agriculture and greenery; white and red derive from the flag of Russia.

Flag of Croatia

3 colors: red, white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of Croatia: All three colors (red, white, blue) were taken from the flag of imperial Russia. In the flag of Croatia, red symbolizes the blood spilt in the fight for independence and the zeal and enthusiasm of the martyrs in fighting the colonial authorities; white represents the peaceful and amiable nature of Croatians; blue stands for belief in God. The national coat of arms in the center of the flag. The checkerboard of thirteen red and twelve white fields is a symbol of the Croatian Kings. It has a crown of shields of five historical regions which formed the Republic of Croatia: Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia.

Flag of CyprusFlag of Czech Republic

Flag of Cyprus

3 colors: white, orange, green.
Meaning of the flag of Cyprus: The white field of the background has a copper-orange island in the center, representing the abundance of copper ore in the country. Under the island there are two olive branches which symbolize the peace and harmony which the country has been trying to negotiate between the Greek and the Turkish communities. That is why the Constitution of Cyprus forbids the use of a cross or crescent and blue (Greek) and red (Turkish) colors in the Cypriot flag.

Flag of Czech Republic

3 colors: blue, white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Czech Republic: The colors used in the flag are those traditional of the region of Bohemia. White symbolizes the honest and peaceful nature of the people of the Czech Republic; red represents courage and noble patriotic spirit; blue stands for the Czech virtues of vigilance, truth, loyalty, perseverance.

Flag of DenmarkFlag of Estonia

Flag of Denmark

2 colors: red, white.
Meaning of the flag of Denmark: Red represents the courage, boldness and strength of the people to protect the Kingdom from foreign invasions. The white cross stands for Christianity and is common to the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Flag of Estonia

3 colors: blue, black, white.
Meaning of the flag of Estonia: Blue represents the clear blue skies and the large country’s coast, as well as the hope and aspirations of the people; black stands for the dark past of suffering of the people and the traditional black jacket worn by the peasants of the country; white represents the wish for unity, solidarity, enlightenment and the noble qualities of freedom and commitment to work.

Flag of FinlandFlag of France

Flag of Finland

2 colors: white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of Finland: White represents the snow in Finland, also present in the summer; blue stands for the lakes and skies.

Flag of France

3 colors: blue, white, red.
Meaning of the flag of France: The tricolor flag in present days is a combination of the national color of France, white, with the blue and red of the French militia after the French Revolution.

Flag of GeorgiaFlag of Germany

Flag of Georgia

2 colors: white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Georgia: The flag of Georgia features a white background with a large red St. George’s Cross centered over it representing the Georgian kingdom in the 5th century. In each of the four white rectangles created by the cross there are 4 more red Blonisi crosses. All the crosses probably represent the five Holy Wounds that Jesus suffered during his crucifixion.

Flag of Germany

3 colors: black, red, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Germany: Black and yellow were the colors of the Holy Roman Emperor’s flag around the tenth century. The Austrian Empire incorporated these colors in their flag. The colors black, red and yellow were used in the uniforms of German soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars (black coats with red braids and golden buttons). The colors’ symbols can be read in the sentence: “Out of the blackness of servitude [black], through bloody battles [red] to the golden light of freedom [yellow].”

Flag of GreeceFlag of Hungary

Flag of Greece

2 colors: blue, white.
Meaning of the flag of Greece: Blue and white refer to the sky and sea and the Greek cultural heritage. These colors were probably used to represent Greek gods and goddesses like Achilles and Athena, as well as during Byzantine and Ottoman rule. The blue and white cross symbolizes the Greek religion, Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The nine stripes stand for the syllables in the Greek saying, “Freedom or Death” (Eleftheria i thanatos), the nine letters in the Greek word for “freedom” (eleftheria), and also perhaps the traditional nine Greek Muses.

Flag of Hungary

3 colors: red, white, green.
Meaning of the flag of Hungary: Red represents valor and the noble patriotic spirit of the Hungarian people during the fight for independence, which cause significant bloodshed; white is for the faithful nature of Hungarians; green stands for agriculture and the hope for a better future.

Flag of IcelandFlag of Ireland

Flag of Iceland

3 colors: blue, white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Iceland: All the colors of the flag of Iceland symbolize the nation’s geography. Blue stands for the Atlantic Ocean which surrounds the country; red represents the fires of the country’s volcanoes; white depicts the snow that covers a large part of Iceland.

Flag of Ireland

3 colors: green, white, orange.
Meaning of the flag of Ireland: Green symbolizes the native people of Ireland, the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, as well as the Society of United Irishmen, a republican organization during the 1790s; orange represents the supporters of the House of Orange, the settlers in the seventeenth century; white between the other two colors depicts peace among the two sides, reflecting Irish independence and the union of the people of Ireland.

Flag of ItalyFlag of Kazakhstan

Flag of Italy

3 colors: green, white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Italy: The red and white parts of the flag come from the official colors of the Milanese flag and the green represents the Civic Guards of Milan. Green represents hope and joy; white stands for peace and honesty; red depicts strength and courage. There is another theory for the colors in the Italian flag which atributes red to the violent struggle to become a unified and independent nation, green to the landscapes, white to the snow-capped Alps.

Flag of Kazakhstan

2 colors: blue, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Kazakhstan: The solid blue background means peace and unity of people living in Kazakhstan, as well as the infinite, pure sky. The sun represents the source of life and energy but is also a symbol of progress and movement for nomads. The silhouette of the sun is a symbol of well-being and abundance. 32 beams come out of the sun, shaped like a grain to symbolize abundance and prosperity. The eagle represents the power of the state and astuteness. Also, for people living in the steppe, this bird of prey symbolizes independence, freedom, aspiration and, at the same time, strength to overcome any obstacles and difficulties. The ornament on the left identifies the culture and traditions of Kazakhstan.

Flag of LatviaFlag of Liechtenstein

Flag of Latvia

2 colors: burgundy, white.
Meaning of the flag of Latvia: White represents right and truth, the honor of free citizens and trustworthiness; burgundy is for the blood shed in the past.

Flag of Liechtenstein

2 colors: blue, red.
Meaning of the flag of Liechtenstein: Blue symbolizes the radiant sky; red represents the embers in the fireplace during evening gatherings. The crown shows that the people, country and the princely House are all united in their hearts and spirits.

Flag of LithuaniaFlag of Luxembourg

Flag of Lithuania

3 colors: yellow, green, red.
Meaning of the flag of Lithuania: Yellow represents the country’s wheat fields; green stands for forests; red symbolizes the patriotic spirit. Put together, they represent hope for the future, freedom from oppression and the fearless courage of the Lithuanian people.

Flag of Luxembourg

3 colors: red, white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of Luxembourg: The colors red, white, and blue probably came from the coat of arms of Luxembourg’s counts and dukes. The selected blue is aimed at differentiating this flag from that of the Netherlands.

Flag of MacedoniaFlag of Malta

Flag of Macedonia

2 colors: red, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Macedonia: Red and yellow on the flag take back to early Macedonian history and exist on the country’s coat of arms, which dates back to the middle ages. The centered sun in the flag has rays which go into each corner of the flag to depict “the new sun of Liberty” of the new Republic of Macedonia.

Flag of Malta

2 colors: white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Malta: The white and red colors in the flag of Malta were taken from the checkered banner of Count Roger of Sicily. Another explanation claims that these two colors are those of the Knights of Saint John, who ruled Malta from the 16th to the 18th century. The cross at the upper left corner was awarded in 1942 by King George VI of the United Kingdom to the inhabitants of Malta for their exceptional bravery and audacity in World War II.

Flag of MoldovaFlag of Monaco

Flag of Moldova

3 colors: blue, yellow, red.
Meaning of the flag of Moldova: The colors in the flag represent those in the country’s coat of arms, which also lies in the middle. This coat of arms has an eagle holding a shield on its breast, a cross in its beak, an olive branch in the right claw and a scepter in the left claw. On the shield, there is a decorated picture of aurochs.

Flag of Monaco

2 colors: red, white.
Meaning of the flag of Monaco: The red and white were chosen after the heraldic colors of the ruling Grimaldi family. They appear as a diamond shaped pattern on the shield of the family’s coat of arms.

Flag of MontenegroFlag of Norway

Flag of Montenegro

2 colors: yellow, red.
Meaning of the flag of Montenegro: The red field is bordered by a narrow yellow stripe with the Montenegrin coat of arms centered, consisting of a crowned double-headed golden eagle which symbolizes the unity of church and state. The eagle holds a golden scepter in its right claw and a blue orb in its left; the breast shield over the eagle has a golden lion on a green field in front of a blue sky (the lion is the symbol of episcopal authority, who ruled Montenegro for three and a half centuries.

Flag of Norway

3 colors: red, white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of Norway: The red, white and blue colors may represent freedom like in the flags of France, the Netherlands, the USA, and the UK. The Scandinavian Cross is common to the other Nordic nations such as Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland. It symbolizes these nations’ shared history and Christianity.

Flag of NetherlandsFlag of Poland

Flag of Netherlands

3 colors: red, white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of Netherlands: The red (originally orange and then changed for unclear reasons), white and blue colors are based on the heraldic colors (coat of arms) of Prince William of Orange, the leader of the fight for Dutch independence.

Flag of Poland

2 colors: white, red.
Meaning of the flag of Poland: White represents peace and morality; red symbolizes endurance, gallantry, vigor and bravery. These colors were chosen after the coat of arms of Poland.

Flag of PortugalFlag of Romania

Flag of Portugal

3 colors: green, red, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Portugal: Red represents the Portuguese uprising in 1910; green symbolizes optimism. The coat of arms with the Portugal’s conventional shield includes Five blue shields representing the conquest over five Moresque kings and the five dots and cross signify Christianity. There is a navigation device at the back of the coats of arms to represent Prince Henry the Navigator, who initiated the marine expedition of Portugal.

Flag of Romania

3 colors: blue, yellow, red.
Meaning of the flag of Romania: The red, blue and white colors represent the two princedoms as Walachia and Moldavia, which unified to constitute Romania in the year of 1859.

Flag of RussiaFlag of San Marino

Flag of Russia

3 colors: white, blue, red.
Meaning of the flag of Russia: The Russian Federation flag contains the Pan-Slavic colors of red, blue and white. Since there is no official meaning appointed to the colors by the Russian government, several theories exist. One refers that the colors came from the Grand Duchy of Moscow and depict Saint George in a silver armor, on white horse, wearing a blue cap on a red field. Another theory explains that white represents God, blue is for Tsar and red for peasants. Even another theory attributes white to a bright future, blue for clouded present and red for the bloody past.

Flag of San Marino

2 colors: white, blue.
Meaning of the flag of San Marino: Blue represents the sky; white stands for the mountains and snow on the top of Mt. Titano, San Marino’s highest point. The coat of arms in the center has a shield, flanked by a wreath, a crown underneath and on top a scroll bearing the word “Libertas” (liberty).

Flag of SerbiaFlag of Slovakia

Flag of Serbia

3 colors: red, blue, white.
Meaning of the flag of Serbia: The colors blue, white and red of the flag of Serbia are the ones in the conventional Slavic color schemes, named Pan-Slavonic shades.They were inspired by the flag of Independent Russia.

Flag of Slovakia

3 colors: white, blue, red.
Meaning of the flag of Slovakia: Blue, white and red are conventional Slavonic shades which represent Slavonic harmony and independence. The coat of arms is an adapted edition of the Hungarian coat of arms, symbolizing Slovakia’s previous connection with that country. The cross of the arms stands for Christianity and the mountains represent the Mountains as Tatra, Fatra and Matra.

Flag of SloveniaFlag of Spain

Flag of Slovenia

3 colors: white, blue, red.
Meaning of the flag of Slovenia: White, blue and red are traditional Slavic colors initially adopted by Slavic nations influenced by the Russian flag, an independent Slavic country then. The coat of arms of Slovenia has three stars representing independence. The two wavy blue lines at the bottom of the mountain symbolize the country’s rivers which flow into the sea.

Flag of Spain

2 colors: red, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Spain: The red and yellow are probably originated in one of the original coats of Spanish kingdoms: Castile, Leon, Catalonia/Aragon, Navarre. In the Spanish flag itself, the coat of arms has two crown-topped pillars of Hercules representing Gibraltar and Ceuta with red banners displaying the motto in Latin, “PLUS ULTRA” (“More Beyond”), in reference to Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The four quarters of the shield show the badges of the original Spanish Kingdoms. In the center is the emblem of the reigning Spanish royal Family, House of Bourbon, a blue oval with a red-edged border containing three fleur-de-lis. The pomegranate at the bottom of the shield represents Grenada.

Flag of SwedenFlag of Switzerland

Flag of Sweden

2 colors: blue, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Sweden: Blue symbolizes truth, loyalty and justice; yellow stands for generosity. The Swedish cross is probably a reference to king Eric the Holy, who saw the gold cross in the sky. Its appearance in the flag expresses the religious history of the nation and its early leaders.

Flag of Switzerland

2 colors: red, white.
Meaning of the flag of Switzerland: The flag of Switzerland is based on the one of the Canton of Schwyz, one of the first three of this nation. The style was common in medieval times, since it has a red square with a symmetric white cross in the center. The Switzerland national flag represents freedom, honor and fidelity.

Flag of TurkeyFlag of Ukraine

Flag of Turkey

2 colors: red, white.
Meaning of the flag of Turkey: As mentioned in the Holy Koran, the star in the flag of Turkey symbolizes the Morning Star. Both the white crescent and the star are symbols of Islam.

Flag of Ukraine

2 colors: blue, yellow.
Meaning of the flag of Ukraine: Blue symbolizes the colors of the sky, streams and mountains of Ukraine; yellow represents the abundant golden wheat fields of the country.

Flag of United KingdomFlag of Vatican

Flag of United Kingdom

3 colors: blue, white, red.
Meaning of the flag of United Kingdom: Each of the crosses in the flag called the Union Jack represent a country of the United Kingdom. The red horizontal and vertical lines are used in England’s flag to represent its patron Saint George’s cross. Ireland’s patron, Saint Patrick is represented in the red X stretching from corner to corner. Scotland is represented by the cross of Saint Andrew, a white X on a blue background. Wales shows up in the flag under under England’s cross because it was part of the Kingdom of England.

Flag of Vatican

2 colors: yellow, white.
Meaning of the flag of Vatican: Yellow and white represent the gold and silver of the crossed keys of Saint Peter, also shown in the flag. Yellow symbolizes the religious strength of the pope; white shows his universal authority. The two keys underneath the papal tiara are the keys to heaven, connected by a red cord.

States not recognized, partially recognized or disputed

Flag of Transnistria

Flag of Transnistria

3 colors: red, green, gold
Meaning of the flag of Transnistria / Pridnestrovia: The hammer and sickle represent peaceful labour and international proletarian unity. These objects are pan-communist symbols. The star and the red color are symbols of communism and socialism.

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