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Rules on folding and flying the flag - Sweden

Last modified: 2013-07-23 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: sweden |
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[Flag of Sweden] by Edward Mooney, Jr.,

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Times for flying the flag

Time table of the flag:

From 1 March until 31 October
The flag is hoisted at 0800
The flag is lowered at sunset, though no later than at 2100

From 1 November until 28 (29) February
The flag is hoisted at 0900
The flag is lowered at sunset

If the flag is illuminated, it may be up even after these times, especially if there is still activity going on (e.g., you wouldn't lower the flags on a football stadium where two national teams are playing, just because the sun is setting before the game is ended).

Only one flag may be hoisted at each flag pole.
Elias Granqvist, 2000-Sep-10

Flag protocol

A public authority sometimes have a flag of its own, which can be a banner of arms or a flag with a logo. These can be seen flying when it's not a flag day.

On flag days, you should in principle fly Swedish flags on all flag poles if you have more than one. If you fly a Swedish flag and a company or authority flag on days which are not flag days, you should have the Swedish flag in the foremost position (if you disregard from the notion sometimes stated, that you shouldn't mix national and company flags). The same is the case, if you would fly the flag alongside a provincial or municipal flag (something which I suppose might happen, but it's not common).

Flying the flag at half staff when mourning may take over the rule of flying the flag in top of the staff on a general flag day.

When not flying the flag (on days when you don't celebrate or in the night) many people hoist a pennant instead. This pennant is traditionally parted per fess blue over yellow, and is usually rather narrow and about half to a quarter of the flagpole in lenght (could be longer for a flag pole on a house wall).

The flag protocols in Sweden are pretty liberal, mostly governed only by tradition. This is due to the fact, that Sweden is an old country, having been sovereign for centuries without that much political unrest.
Elias Granqvist, 05 October 2000

About the origin of the flag rules

As far as I can remember from my military service days, the tradition was established long ago that the flag be taken down since a flag was not only a sacred symbol but also a rallying point, if the flag or "fana" in Sweden which means standard was stolen, it was considered a treason against the Kingdom as well as the potential risk of bng missused, I supposed I hanvr hard of this being the case but... As for touching the ground this also has to do with the tradition of not literally stepping on the kingdom and thus the folding not on to avoid this risk but also in Sweden's case folding the flag in the evening so that no yellow shows the sun has set and there is no "yellow" in the sky and that as the flag chant goes "God now protects all is well"
Mats W. Emblad, 10 June 1999

Custom can be curious; I wonder how often the Swedish flag is folded to hide the yellow stripe!

However, you will note that the information on taking the flag down at night, was based on military custom, to guard against theft and false identity from a stolen "standard", again not an issue that would necessarily affect the civilian. Nevertheless, it is to the military that we ought to look to find the correct way of handling the flag itself, as I know that they will have very practical methods for this.

Of course, flags were held to be sacred objects, but I am not so sure that they are seen that way today. Perhaps that now only applies to the flags that show some religious symbolism on them, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which contain the words of the Sha'hada. There the symbolism goes beyond the sovereignty of the land, to the nation's religion. In most other countries, the flag represents the sovereignty of the land on which it is flown, and the flag does not contain any mystical religious concept. That is a more philosophic issue than the one that I question, but admittedly does touch upon it, and would surely be the issue that is at the base of the military traditions that we have today.
Alex Gordon, June 1999

Many people do fold the Swedish flag, so that no yellow can be seen, and just like in the case with not letting the flag touch the ground, the reason might well be very simple: Most Swedish sources say the main reason - or at least the original reason - is, that the flag should not get stained and dirty. The yellow part would be visually more sensitive for dirt than the blue part, as the yellow is a lighter colour.

Also, one might add, that though Sweden is very secularised in these days, the symbol on the Swedish flag is still a religious symbol, the Christian cross.
Elias Granqvist, 27 September 2000

Folding protocol

The rules of folding the flag with no yellow being seen, was still in use in the 60'ies and 70'ies when I made my military service. We also always had to salute the flag, when in uniform. The rules of taking the flag down at sunset was changed in the summer of 1972 during the Stockholm Environment Conference, as all the flags were flying on top of the Cultural House in Stockholm, day and night. Then they decided that the Swedish flag should be up-lighted (with the others), and therefore could fly all night.

A Swedish flag cannot be used as anything else afterwards, it should be burnt. The colours must be the appropiate ones, but the old flags from before around 1975 have darker colours, then they took out the "likare".-flag from 1906 to check the real colours, and they were a little bit brighter. So you can see older, darker flags in fabric, and newer ones, even less dark because of the use of nylons etc.
Jan Norin, 25 February 2003