What Do the Colors on the Swedish Flag Represent?

Guillaume Baviere/CC-BY 2.0

The Swedish flag has a solid blue background with a yellow cross extending from the top to bottom and left to right of the flag. The yellow of the cross represents generosity, while the blue background symbolizes loyalty, truth and justice.

Several theories attempt to explain the source of the flag’s colors. One theory suggests that the colors represent the colors of the coat of arms of either King Magnus Birgersson in 1275 or King Albert of Mecklenburg in 1364. The royal coat of arms of Sweden, which uses blue and gold, dates back to the year 1442.

The cross on the flag, which intersects the flag just to the left of its center, is reportedly from Eric the Holy, a former king of Sweden who saw a gold cross in the sky. The most recognizable symbol of Christianity, the cross is used to express Sweden’s religious history and the values of its early leaders.

Earlier forms of the Swedish flag also featured a blue background and yellow cross but with varied shapes. Some were double-tailed, and versions that followed featured a triple-tailed shape. The design of the flag is based on the Danish flag, which features the same cross in red and white. Some sources say the design inspiration was based on resistance to Danish rule.