Danish PM in ’embarrassing’ Faroes flag blunder

A move by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to curry favour with the Faroe Islands by granting them an official flag day has backfired spectacularly after the wrong flag was hoisted on at least two official buildings.

Danish PM in 'embarrassing' Faroes flag blunder
The colours on the flag flown outside Copenhagen University were transposed. Photo: Twitter
At both the Stock Exchange in Copenhagen and the main building at Copenhagen University, flags were hoisted which swapped around the red and blue colours of the Faroese cross. 
“This stresses — in an embarrassing manner — my original point that we should know more about eachother in the Danish Realm,” Rasmussen said in a tweet after the blunder was reported. 
Sjúrður Skaale, a Faroese politician, told the Politiko news site that when he had first seen the pictures of the faulty flags, he had initially suspected they had been digitally altered, as he could not believe that the Danish government would be so careless. 
“This shows that there really is an unimaginably huge lack of knowledge about the Faroe Islands in Denmark,” he said. “There are many in the Faroes who also see it as a lack of respect.” 
Rasmussen announced plans for the flag day in March this year, selecting July 29, the Faroe Islands’ national day, for the ceremony. 
The source of the problem appears to be Dahls Flagfabrik, Denmark’s oldest flag factory, which boasts on its website that it has only once sold out of the much loved Dannebrog — on the day Denmark was liberated from German occupation on May 5, 1945.   
Peter Østerbye, the company’s director said it was “embarrassing” that it seems to have sent out flags with transposed colours. 
The Faroes belonged to the Kingdom of Norway for nearly 800 years before they were handed over to Denmark, along with Greenland, in 1814 as part of the Treaty of Kiel. 
Since 1948 they, like Greenland, have been a self-governing part of the Danish Realm. 
Here is a true Faroese flag with a red cross inside a blue cross: 


Denmark’s Dannebrog flag ‘fell from sky’ 800 years ago today

It was 800 years ago this Saturday that a banner sporting a white cross fell miraculously from the sky as Danish crusaders were losing a fierce battle against pagan Estonian tribes.

Denmark's Dannebrog flag 'fell from sky' 800 years ago today
Denmark's Dannebrog flag fell from the sky as Valdemar I (centre with sword) was losing a battle against Estonian flags in 1219. Photo: Christian August Lorentzen/Statens Museum for Kunst
When Denmark's King Valdemar I seized the banner and held it high, his troops were filled with renewed valour and went on to vanquish the Estonian defenders.
This helped them establish Danish Estonia around the fortress of Taani-linn, or Tallinn, which literally means “Danish castle”. 
This story of the 'Dannebrog', Denmark's beloved national flag, may not be fully backed up by the historical evidence.
But as Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen, Associate Professor in Medieval History at Aalborg University, points out, that's hardly the point. 
“We don't talk about whether it's true or not,” Kjersgaard Nielsen, author of the book Dannebrog, told Denmark's Ritzau newswire.”We talk about whether it's a good story, and that it brings a mystical and divine element.” 
As part of the celebrations on Saturday, a parachutist recreated the historic scene, bringing a Dannebrog slowly to the ground. 
The Dannebrog being brought once again from the sky on Saturday. Photo: Keld Navntoft / Ritzau Scanpix 
Denmark's Queen Margrethe II is sailing to Estonia on the royal yacht 'Dannebrog', where she will take part in joint celebrations over the founding of Tallinn, which also shares its 800th anniversary on Saturday. 
Queen Margrethe will sail to Tallinn on the Dannebrog yacht. Photo: Keld Navntoft / Ritzau Scanpix 
The flag began as a royal symbol and trading banner, then became regimental flag in the Danish army in the 18th Century. It only started to be seen as representing the entire nation in the first half of the 19th century. 
Kjersgaard Nielsen said that Danes' use of the flag for birthdays and other celebrations was mostly about creating a sense of occasion. 
“We are not thinking especially nationalistically when we put the birthday flag in a home-made cake or when young people come back from a backpacking holiday,” he said. 
“But we probably are thinking politically when we for example see political parties using the flag as part of their communications.”  
Back in 2016, there was a dispute over politicisation of the symbol when Pia Kjærsgaard, the Speaker of Denmark's parliament, who represents the Danish People's Party, wanted to have a three-meter Dannebrog hung behind her chair. 
Christian Juhl, from the Red Green Alliance, complained that this was “close to an abuse of power by the Speaker”, and succeeded in having the size of the flag dramatically reduced.