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Nordic Council

Last modified: 2022-10-14 by zoltán horváth
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[Flag of the Nordic Council]
image by Jens Pattke, 30 April 2017

See also:


The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers are an intergovernmental forum for co-operation between the Nordic countries. It was established following World War II and its first concrete result was the introduction in 1952 of a common labour market and free movement across borders without passports for the countries' citizens. The Nordic Council became a reality in February 1953. Finland joined the council in 1956. The formation of the council made it possible for Nordic parliamentarians to play a larger role in the process of developing co-operation on legislation.
Today the council has 87 members, elected among the members of the national parliaments. The composition of the council reflects the relative representation of the political parties in the national parliaments.
Zoltan Horvath, 28 February 2010

The Flag

The new flag of the Nordic Council can be seen in the Design manual of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council: at
Jens Pattke, 30 April 2017

It appears that this flag was launched on 1 November 2016 ( It's interesting to note that the idea common in some parts that animals on flags should advance towards the hoist has lost out to the graphic design principle of the right side as forward in a logo, which then gets put on a flag so that the creature is facing the hoist.
Jonathan Dixon, 1 May 2017

Previous Flags

[Flag of the Nordic Council]
image by Zoltan Horvath, 28 February 2010

Official flag: (page 50)
I don't know the exact date of change of flag, but this document was published on 01 February, 2006.
Zoltan Horvath, 28 February 2010

It's a shame they put text on the flag, which wasn't there before.I have always felt the flag of the Nordic Council looks more like the flag of an airline company.
Elias Granqvist, 28 February 2010

I don't know whether it was; I can't recall ever seeing a council logo that didn't have "norden" next to it. Some time ago Brian wrote that there was also a logo version with "pohjola", though. I don't know whether that means there are now also to version of the lettered flag. (I asked the council secretariat for more information.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 02 March 2010

Some time ago it was mentioned that there was also a logo version with "pohjola", though. I don't know whether that means there are now also to version of the lettered flag.
The Finnish equivalent, I'd assume- and that "Norden" is the same in all the other languages.
Nachum Lamm, 03 March 2010

We're informed that "norden" is considered the general word for the Nordic cooperation, where "pohjola", meaning the same in Finnish, was introduced as a compromise, though rarely used. No flag using it is known, but such a flag would indeed be theoretically possible.
The addition of the lettering to the swan symbol of 1985 was done to create an over-all symbol for Nordic cooperation. [I have no idea why the swan symbol by itself couldn't have been such a symbol.] On the flag, it's considered a type B logo, which means it is not accompanied by the name of a specific entity. The flag can therefore represent the Nordic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers, or any other entity under the same umbrella. This logo with lettering, and hence the flag, was approved by both councils in 2004.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 03 March 2010

Earlier version without text

[Flag of the Nordic Council]
image by Ivan Sarajcic, 22 January 2007

I found in a book a flag for the Nordic council which is white with five white stylized swans on a blue disc.
Pascal Vagnat, 22 January 1996

The Nordic Council logo is put on a white filed. The logo is supposed to be five swans. Željko mentioned stamps commemorating the Nordic Council having five natural-looking swans. This was an early symbol of Nordic cooperation, but I do not know whether it was official in any way. I suppose the swans flying together in formation represented the cooperation between the countries, all heading in the same direction. I don't know when the flag was adopted, or what the official proportions are. I used 2:3 for the image.
Jan Oskar Engene, 10 August 1996

While doing a little research on things international, I found that the Nordic Council's website had some detailed info on its logo. After a little digging, there's a Design Manual (in Danish) linked at the bottom of the webpage. On page 50 of the PDF is given the "Nordisk Ministerråd og Nordisk Råds official flag, 3 x 2 m" or in English "Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council official flag, 3 x 2 m(eters)." The logo's official color is Pantone 280 (CMYK 100/72/0/18; RGB 12/37/119; Hex #0C2577). It's worth noting that there are 2 versions of the logo, one which says "Norden" for use in the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and English languages and the other which says "Pohjola" for use in the Finnish language, though "Norden" is also used in the Finnish sphere. It's also worth noting that with the color specs, the Pantone and CMYK color spaces provide a brighter blue than the RGB and HEX color spaces do.
Brian Ellis, 10 March 2008

Background and Use of the Symbol

The swan - The official symbol of Nordic cooperation

The swan with eight wing feathers was adopted as the official symbol of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers in November 1984. The symbol represents the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, and the three self-governing territories of the Faeroe Islands, Greenland and Aland. The swan was designed by Finnish artist Kyösti Varis. The symbol was used officially for the first time at the session of the Nordic Council in Reykjavik in March 1985.

The swan is found on all kinds of official printed matter of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers, ranging from letter-paper and envelopes to brochures and publications. The swan is also used by the official Nordic institutions and organs of cooperation.

The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers have decided on guidelines for the use of the symbol. These guidelines determine what the symbol looks like, and in what circumstances it may be used. This folder contains these guidelines.

Guidelines for the symbol of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers

1 Definition
By the Nordic symbol is meant the emblem that shall symbolize the official Nordic cooperation, and which the Nordic Council/ Nordic Council of Ministers has announced through WIPO.

2 Description of the Nordic symbol
The Nordic symbol is a white swan with 8 wingspans on a marine blue, circular field (Color: Pantone Reflex Blue C). If needed, the symbol may also be used in other marine blue colors (approximating Pantone Reflex Blue C) or in black.

3 Legal protection
The Nordic symbol is legally protected according to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property Art. 6 ter. The Nordic Council may enter into agreement with the designer as to eventual changes in the symbol.

4 Who may use the symbol
The Nordic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers and common Nordic institutions that are wholly or partly funded over the budget of the Nordic Council of Ministers have the right to use the Nordic symbol. Unless there is agreement from the artist that has the copyright to the symbol, it must not be used in other colors and/or with a different shape from that described in 2.

5 Use of the symbol by others
Without permission, the symbol must not be used by others than those described in 4. Permission to use the Nordic symbol may normally only be granted to others that are engaged in ideal work or activity, whose aims are within the frame of the goals of the official Nordic cooperation. The symbol must not, as a main rule, be used as part of commercial activity by others than the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

6 Procedures
Institutions mentioned in 4 that want to use the symbol in different colors or shapes than mentioned in 2, must apply for permission. Others than those mentioned in 4, that wish to use the Nordic symbol, must apply for permission. With applications shall be enclosed the statutes of the activities and an overview of past and future activities. The Secretary of the Presidium decides on the application as mentioned in section 1 and 2 of this article, on behalf of the Nordic Council. Before decision is made, an application may be submitted to the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers for his opinion.

7 Complaints
The President of the Nordic Council decides on any complaints concerning the decisions made by the Secretary of the Presidium

Mark Sensen and Jan Oskar Engene, 11 March 1998