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Norwegian-Swedish union mark and jack 1844-1905


Last modified: 2003-04-05 by sean mckinniss
Keywords: norway | sweden | jack | naval jack | cross | herring salad | sillsallad | union | union mark |
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[Norwegian-Swedish Jack, 1844-1905] by Ole Andersen

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History of the Flag

Between 1814 and 1905, Sweden and Norway were a united kingdom. The jack was a common flag of the two countries. The flag features the union mark, consisting of a cross bearing the colours of both Sweden and Norway.

Ole Andersen

The union badge was introduced in Swedish and Norwegian flags in 1844 (when Oscar I acceded to the throne) in order to secure an equal status to both of his realms in personal union, and especially to soothe the feelings of Norwegians, who considered the previous union flag disparaging to Norway. It was well received in 1844, but a generation later it was again felt to be disgraceful by the growing majority who wanted to do away with the union. They succeeded in 1899 with the introduction of the "pure" civil flag, and military flags followed when the union was dissolved in 1905.

The pattern of the union badge suggested a common dish on "smorgasbords" of both countries, a colourful herring salad decorated radially with bits of egg whites and yolks, beets, and greenstuff. Very good - try it! Witty tongues soon found the appropiate term. Norwegian: sildesalat, Swedish: sillsallat.

Lars Roede, 18 July 2002

The herring salad, i.e. per saltire composed flags of Sweden and Norway, each preserving the relative ratio of stripes appropriate for each national flag. (therefore I introduce x's and y's in the details above, though I am sure this could be done to make then to common denominator, though the obvious would be lost. The overall ratio 4:5 I concluded from images at FOTW.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 July 2002

Use of the union mark as a flag

The union mark was used as a flag in it self too, both as a naval jack and as a flag at the joint Swedish-Norwegian embassies and consulates at the time.

Elias Granqvist, 26 April 2001

Nickname of the Flag

The union mark in the canton of the Swedish-Norwegian flags between 1844-1905 was jokefully called "The Herring Salad" (Sillsallaten), a salad made of pickled herring, beetroot, and potatoes, a classical Swedish dish that in colours reminds of the union mark.

Stefan Klein, 26 April 2001