See also Ralf Hartemink's page on Iceland.

Flag and State Arms of Iceland

This section is by Klaus Ole Kristiansen.

This flag is known from about 1913. State institutions, both civilian and military uses a swallow tail version of the same flag, both on land and at sea.

The arms of The Republic of Iceland is the flag (Azure on a cross argent a cross gules), resting on a plate of basalt and supported by the four mythic protectors of Iceland mentioned in Heimskringla: a bull, a bird, a dragon, and a giant.

The proportions are sligtly different from those of the flag. In both cases, the silver cross is 2/9 of the width of the flag/shield, the red cross half the width of the silver cross, and the blue fields at the hoist/top are square. The blue fields at the fly of the flag are twice as long as those at the hoist, those at the bottom of the shield are 4/3 as long as those at the top.

These arms, though with a royal crown, were adopted when Iceland became an independent kingdom in 1919. The crown was removed when Iceland became a republic in 1944.

From 1903 to 1919 the arms of Iceland were Azure a falcon Argent. This replaced the original arms, used since the 15th century: Gules a stockfish (or split dried cod) Argent crowned with an open crown or.

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François Velde

Jun 23, 2003