Society

Happy birthday Merkið! Faroe Islanders take to the streets to celebrate 78 wonderful years of having their own flag

Today, April 25 2018, is the 78th Flag Day in the Faroe Islands, which commemorates British recognition of the Faroese flag during World War 2.

It required a peaceful British occupation during World War 2 to get international recognition for a flag that had been in existence for just over 20 years. Merkið (the banner), as it is called in Faroese, was created by Jens Oliver Lisberg and other Faroese students in Copenhagen in 1919. It was used (unofficially) during the inter-war period at weddings and other events.

Notably, the recognition of Merkið, which many Faroese had craved for two decades, became a formality, once Denmark and the Faroe Islands had been occupied by Germany and Great Britain respectively. Being completely cut off from Denmark, Faroese vessels could no longer use the Danish flag Dannebrog, and the British decided that Merkið was the official flag of Faroese ships.

After the war, Faroese ships would not go back to using Dannebrog. With the Home Rule Act in 1948, the Faroe Islands was transformed from a Danish county into an autonomous region under the Danish crown, and Merkið was also recognized by Denmark.

Originally written by: Rógvi Olavson (Faroeislands.fo), 25 April 2016

Share this article on social media:

More in Society