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Saint-Martin (Overseas Collectivity, France)

Last modified: 2012-10-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: france | saint-martin | fort louis | martini |
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[Flag of France]

Flag of France - Image by Željko Heimer, 22 September 2001

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Presentation of Saint-Martin

The island of Saint-Martin is located north of Saint-Barthélemy and south of Anguilla. Its southern part, known as Sint Maarten, belongs to the Netherlands, whereas its northern part (52 sq. km, 28,518 inhabitants) belongs to France.
Saint-Martin is an overseas community (collectivité d'outre-mer), as prescribed by Law of 21 February 2007, published in the French official gazette on 22 February 2007. This new status was approved by local referendum (95.5% yes) on 7 December 2003. Beforehand, Saint-Martin was a municipality forming, together with the municipality of Saint-Barthélemy, the third arrondissement (northern islands) of the overseas department of Guadeloupe.

Ivan Sache, 16 October 2011

Flag of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin

[Flag of the Collectivity]

Flag of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin - Image by Zoltán Horvath, 5 November 2010

The Collectivity of Saint-Martin uses a white flag with the Collectivity's logo in the middle. Quoting the official website (page no longer online):

The ribbon forms a "S M" monogram, for Saint-Martin. It symbolizes sophistication, elegance and stylishness. Very flexible, the ribbon adapts itself to any shape and to twisting and tension it can be submitted to. The ribbon cannot be cut easily and is robust. Light, it can fly in a windborne move and gives a wavy effect on water. Therefore, the image as built in the logo suggests traveling waves: the multiplication of skills creates energy, which is traveling, propelling to the sea and beyond, towards future and success. These terms represent saint-Martin and the Collectivity: adaptation to constraint, flexibility, dynamism and strength. The ribbon is a modern symbol of solidarity and hope.

The ribbon represents a stylization of the sea (blue) and of Fort Louis (green), forming a "social concept": the sea and the fort are symbols of Saint-Martin recognized by all and to be easily adopted by all citizens.
The two ribbons (blue and green) form a "federating concept": they unite in spite of their different color and surround the word "Saint- Martin". Therefore, the logo gathers the strengths of the two ribbons and unite them to Saint-Martin while maintaining a wide opening.

Fort Louis (photo) was built in 1789 by Knight de Durat, Governor of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, to watch the port of Marigot, where coffee, salt, rum and sugar were stored. English squads coming from neighboring Anguilla, as well as all kinds of pirates, enjoyed looting the port. Once abandoned, the fort was restored in the 19th century and eventually decommissioned.

Paraskevas Renesis & Ivan Sache, 16 October 2011

Emblem of the Collectivity of Saint-Martin

At last on 26 October 2010 the Territorial Council adopted the new emblem for the island (image) that had been chosen last July. Quoting The Daily Herald, 23 July 2010:

[...] Arnell, a first year architectural décor student at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et Métiers d'Art (ENSAAMA) "Olivier de Serres" in Paris swayed the judges with his Flying Pelican canvas featuring the symbols the island is best known for, such as the Flamboyant and Coralita flowers, the border monument, slavery walls, salt, sea, sunrise, mountains, and shells. These were all headed by a scroll depicting the paper the Treaty of Concordia [the Partition Treaty signed on 23 March 1648 by France and the Netherlands] was written on.
"With the sunrise, and the Pelican, the idea was to show new beginnings and the new future of the Collectivité, the Pelican taking off, but keeping a protective eye on the population," explained Arnell of his winning design that took two months to complete using acrylics and water colours. "I also included the yellow butterflies which are common on the island and wanted to recall the texture of the paper the Treaty was written on. I used a tinted grey canvas because that brings out the colours.
Fifty persons submitted presentations for the competition and participants were required to follow specific rules and guidelines under the theme, "The Future Inspired by Our Heritage." The competition was driven by the need for a fresh emblem to go with the Collectivités new logos.
A judging panel composed of six men and six women coming from various professional backgrounds had the difficult task of judging the work. Territorial Councillor Guillaume Arnell was Head of the Jury. "We had to have separate judging sessions of 15 entries at a time in order to reduce the original 50 down to a final 20," said Arnell. "It was a difficult task."
Judging criteria and scoring included written presentation (15 points), artistic merit (15 points), technical aspect (30 points), integration of nature, cultural and historical elements (20 points), and overall presentation (20 points). [...]

Paraskevas Renesis & Ivan Sache, 16 October 2011

Dubious reports of the flag of Saint-Martin

None of the flags reported in this section can be seen anywhere on the island. The local political leaders never seen them nor heard about them.
The coat of arms is widely used by the municipality of Saint-Martin on letterheads and official documents, but not on a flag.

Jérôme Sterkers, 27 September 2006

[Local flag of Saint-Martin]

Reported local flag of Saint-Martin - Image by Christian Berghänel, 30 August 1998

This flag is reported as the flag of Saint-Martin in László Balough's A Világ Nemzetei - Zaszlók, címerek, térképek, adatok [blg94].

Christian Berghänel, 30 August 1998

According to Everett D. Emerson (The Flag Bulletin, [tfb] #218, p.172, 2004), this flag is spurious. He says that his cousin visited the island four times and reports never having seen this flag displayed on land or sea or even for sale. He adds, "One might speculate that the 'flag' as depicted was from an inaccurate verbal description of the legitimate [Dutch] Sint Maarten flag, that it was a hoax, or that it was an idea for a flag to be commercially marketed that never achieved usage.
Emerson traces the origin of the supposed St. Martin error to an anonymous author who wrote Eiropas Pilsetis I (Riga, 2001) [l9v01]. That author attributed the flag to St. Barthélemy, possibly through a typo, but Emerson adds "Several Internet sources attribute it to French St. Martin."

Al Kirsch & Ned Smith, 18 December 2005

This flag design is similar to a white Martini glass on a blue background with a little bit of liquor on it (red) and a slice of lemon (yellow). I think somebody was playing with the similarity of the words Martin and Martini and decided to make his own design.

Hernán Bustelo, 31 July 2012

In issue 21 of the vexillological bulletin edited by László Balough (at some date between 1995 and 1997), the flag of Saint-Martin is shown as a light blue flag with a shield.

Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1998