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Greenland - Houseflags of Shipping Companies (Denmark)

Last modified: 2014-05-24 by christopher oehler
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Royal Greenland Trading Company

by Paige Herring, 23 April 1998

This is a flag with a very interesting history. It was originally the flag of a trading company, but evolved into the ensign used by ships belonging to the Ministry for Greenland. The flag was first introduced in 1781, and had two white harpoons in saltire in the canton. From 1795 the letters "K.G.H.", meaning Kongelig Gro/nlandske Handel (Royal Greenland Trading Company) in gold/yellow were added to the centre of the cross. The letters later disappeared and a Royal resolution of 28 June 1846 confirmed the harpoons only. Closer to our time, the flag was used by the Ministry for Greenland and its subdivisions (for instance the Royal Greenland Trading Company). Presumably it became obsolete when Greenland got its own flag and the home rule authorities took over the responsibility for the services formerly run by the Ministry for Greenland and the Royal Greenland Trading Company.

Greenland (Swalow tail danish flag with two crossed white spears on the canton) - 28x53,5
Ole Andersen, 1 April 2001

Royal Greenland Trading Company - Danish swallow-tailed national flag with two white harpoons crossed in saltire in canton. I guess the source of Paige Herring's image is Flaggenbuch. Joseph Nüsse shows a flag with the harpoons slightly different (shorter and thicker), which is probably of little significance.
Ivan Sache, 1 September 2002

According to Jan Oskar Engene presantaion at ICV 20 (Stockholm, 2003), this company operated between 1795-1986, and also used this flag with gold initials on the meeting points of the cross's hands. See photo.
Dov Gutterman, 12 August 2003

Royal Greenland Trading Co. - Until the latter 1970s', Lloyds listed them under this name then changing to Den Kongelige Gronlandske Handel and then to Den Kongelige Gronlandske Handel Trafikkavdelingen, which, going by later information, appears to be their original title. This changed in 1986 to Gronlands Handel and then in 1993 it became Royal Arctic Line A/S.
Neale Rosanoski, 19 October 2003

Royal Arctic Line A/S (Nuuk)

(this flag is probably wrong - see below)
by Ivan Sache, 1 September 2002

Royal Arctic Line A/S (Nuuk) - Flag diagonally divided (per bend) yellow-blue.
Ivan Sache, 1 September 2002

I hereby inform you that the information regarding the house flag of Royal Arctic Line is wrong. Further more Royal Arctic Line is a Greenlandic owned shipping company. It is been 100% owned by the Home rule Government of Greenland for the
last 10 years. To your information our flag's colors are white and red. See our web site at <>.
Nini Biilmann, Marketing departement, Royal Arctic Line A/S, 18 October 2002

My source is Joseph Nüsse's website at <josef.nuesse/114.htm> . Joseph Nüsse shows on his website colour pictures of several house flags of shipping companies. The site is a very good source since it shows pictures of real flags. It is clear from his website that Joseph served (and maybe still serves) in the merchant navy and most probably regrets the decline in merchant shipping. The website disclaimer says that most of the companies whose house flags are shown there are gone out of business.
Ivan Sache, 2 November 2002

I am not surprised that Nini Biilman is aggrieved as Ivan seems to getting crossed wires and a different view of Josef Nüsse's site to me. Josef does show the diagonal biband shown but in his section on Netherlands Dredging companies where it is correctly listed under Royal [or Koninklijke] Boskalis Westminster N.V. (although Brown 1995 defines it for their subsidiary Baggermaatschappij Boskalis B.V.). Josef DOES show the proper flag for Royal Arctic A/S, referred to be Nuuk, in his Danish section Seite 7.
Neale Rosanoski, 19 October 2003