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Oland (Sweden)


Last modified: 2021-08-25 by christopher oehler
Keywords: sweden | oland | deer |
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[Flag of Öland] by Elias Granqvist
The flag is a banner of the arms;
arms granted in 1560, revised grant on 26 May 1944.

See also:

About the Flag

This is the flag of the province Öland, which is an island situated off the east coast just outside Småland. It is a banner of arms, just like all Swedish provinces have.

The arms of Öland were granted in 1560, at the funeral of King Gustav I. The choice of the charge, a deer, was probably made because there were royal hunting grounds on Öland. It was finally decided at the revised grant of the arms in 1944, that the necklace of the deer, which it has not always had in images of the arms, should be present. The necklace is supposed to have been put there to mark the animal as royal game.

The only difference between the arms of Öland and the arms of Åland in Finland, is the necklace and that the Öland deer may be armed gules.

I have based the image on those of county flags made by Mello Luchtenberg. Made some work myself to make them look nice in this size, though. I also used the images in Ny svensk vapenbok [nev92] as a reference for this work.
Elias Granqvist, 26 January 2001

I read about these coat of arms that Swedish Öland and Finnish Åland exchanged their coats of arms about 1600. The coat of arms of Öland became coat of arms of Åland and the coat of arms of Åland became coat of arms of Öland (until 1884). After 1884 Öland readopted "old" coat of arms.
Victor Lomantsov, 24 December 2000

As the island provinces of Öland and Åland had arms that looked very much the same, had names that looked and sounded very much the same (the Swedish letter Å, an A with a ring over it, will to a foreigner probably sound like an O) and both lied within the Swedish realm, they were probably mixed up by people - often foreigners - who were to paint the Swedish provincial coats of arms. The exchange around 1600 was therefore probably caused by a misunderstanding.

What was granted to Öland in the revised grant of 1884, was the version with two deer (originally Åland). The reversion to the original arms of Öland was made at the revised armorial grant of 1944.

The Swedish heraldic authority wanted to revert to the original arms, and wanted the Finnish to do the same (Finland, including Åland, was since 1809 not a part of Sweden anymore), but the Finnish wanted the arms of Åland to stay the way they had been for the last centuries. Thus, the arms of Öland and the arms of Åland today look almost the same.

On Åland however, the arms are - as far as I know - not used as a flag (banner of arms), though it could be used as such. Instead, they use their flag with a Scandinavian cross.

C. Nevéus/B.J. de Wærn: Ny svensk vapenbok, 1992 [nev92], p. 32
Meddelanden från Riksheraldikerämbetet IX, 1940 [mdd], pp. 56ff
Elias Granqvist, 25 and 27 December 2000


Official blazon in Swedish: "I blått fält en gående hjort av guld med rött halsband och röd beväring, därest sådan skall komma till användning."

Blazoned in English: "Azure a Deer Or attired, hoofed and gorged Gules."
English blazon by Željko Heimer, 31 September 2000