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County of Gotland (Sweden)

Gotlands län

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by christopher oehler
Keywords: gotland | ram | lamb |
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[flag of Gotland county]
illustration by Jan Oskar Engene
The flag is a banner of the arms; arms granted on 15 May 1936.

See also:


About the flag

The flag has a blue field with a white standing ram, horns and hooves yellow, carrying a cross staff with a red flag bordered in yellow and with five tails also in yellow. The current version was introduced by the National Archives of Sweden in 1990 and is in content identical to the arms granted by the king in 1936. A version from 1884 had an Agnus Dei instead of the ram. The image shows the flag as a banner of the arms with proportions 1:1. Real flags sold and used in Gotland are rectangular.

The county of Gotland has the same arms, and thus the same official flag, as the province of Gotland. The geographical borders are also the same.
Elias Granqvist 14 August 2000


Official Blazon in Swedish

I blått fält en stående vädur av silver med beväring av guld, bärande på en korsprydd stång av guld ett rött banér med bård och fem flikar av guld.

Blazon in English

Azure a ram stantant Argent armed Or holding on a cross-staff of the same a banner Gules bordered and with five tails of the third.
English blazon by Željko Heimer, 1 August 2001

Historical Information

For historical information, see the page on the provincial flag of Gotland (which is the same as the flag for the county).

Municipalities (Kommuner)

The following communes are in this county (län). The codes following the name are assigned by Sweden for statistical purposes. The island of Gotland consists of only one municipality.

Unofficial Flags

Unofficial flag of "Republic of Gotland" (Gutniska Republiken)

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 February 2007

A flag consisting of a red field with an old seal in white in the centre was launched in protest against the commune of Gotland which had replaced the seal it previously used as a logo. According to Andersson (1994, p. 24) the flag with the seal was introduced by the assembly of Föreningen Gotland (The Gotland Society) in 1984.

The seal on this flag is the one used centuries ago by the community of Gotland when the island was a peasant 'republic' loosely attached to the Swedish crown. It is known from 1280, but may be older. The seal depicts a ram with a banner, surrounded by the text GUTENSES SIGNO XPISTVS SIGNATVR IN AGNO. This would read something like "I represent the Gotlanders, Christ is represented by a lamb" in English. As we can see from the text, the motive alludes to the Agnus Dei, although the animal is clearly a ram, not a lamb, and the banner is not a cross banner of victory. The seal stamp is preserved in the original. It was discovered in the 1740s at a farm in Gotland, where it was used to decorate Christmas cookies.8

Per Andersson: Nordiska korsflaggor, Mjölby, 1992 [and92]
Clara Nevéus: Ny svensk vapenbok, Stockholm, 1992 [nev92]
Knut Pipping and Leif Tengström: "Huset Vasa, Jagellonerna och Ivan IV Vasilievitj: Några hypoteser om de svenska landskapsvapnens uppkomst", Heraldisk tidsskrift, Vol. 5, No. 49-50, 1984, pp. 107-138 [p8t84]

Jan Oskar Engene, 2 June 1998 (revised)

One of the old seals used in Gotland are the one on the flag of the "Republic of Gotland", but that flag as it is, was only created in the 1980's, as far as I know. It has also never been officially adopted by any authority in Gotland.
Elias Granqvist, 14 February 2007

I'm writing to you about the unofficial flag of "Republic of Gotland" (Gutniska Republiken) that I accidentally found on the Web. It seems like the information provided is a bit wrong and I know because I am one of the persons who was behind the flag.
We was a group of people that started an association named "Gotlands Allting", in which I was second chairman. Chairman was Erik Sundqvist. The aim was to get people on Gotland to come together in protests against the ferry traffic to and from Gotland. There was no talk about any republic.
The 10th of June 1990 at Lojsta Slott we proclaimed The National Day of Gotland and the red flag with the old seal as the national flag. We also had a national anthem "Sång till Gotland".
The flag with the seal was made by Berra Alvengren and he did let Gotlands Allting use it as a national flag for Gotland.
I strongly disagree that it is the flag of "Gutniska Republiken" (Republic of Gotland). We never had any thoughts to create a republic or something similar. At that time, we decided not to become a political party but kept it open for the future. What we wanted was to unite people and strengthen their feelings for Gotland and we needed a symbol to do that. As I did know Berra Alvengren quite well at that time and asked him if we could use the flag. I am quite sure that he wouldn't let it be used as a symbol for a republic.
Later that year, 1990, I moved away from Gotland but kept the contact with Erik Sundqvist for many years as we became good friends. There was never any talk about creating a republic. We thought of creating a political party of the Allting, but no republic.
I still have newspaper articles in Swedish with pictures from that day. I can scan and send if you would like to have them. I also have a copy of the speech I held that day and it has quite a lot of facts about the flag and the seal.
The information about the creation of the flag on your website is also wrong. The flag was created later than 1984 and at that time I can say that I hadn't heard of any Föreningen Gotland. Berra Alvengren created the flag and he is a carpenter and local musician on the south of Gotland. He built a house after old traditions, called "Malstäue", and it was decorated by the famous Gotland artist/painter Erik Olsson. The "Malstäue" was a place for weddings and other celebrations and Berra Alvengren created the flag as a part of that and being very interested of Gotland in old times.
The flag is red and white, some said it was "communistic" and others thought it was Danish. Red and white was actually the colours of Gotland long before it became occupied by the Danish in 1361 and long before Denmark and Switzerland got their flags by the Pope. Because people on Gotland did do trading with Christian countries they brought home the symbol "the lamb with the cross flag". The colours red and white stands for the innocence and blood death of Christ. Later the lamb was changed to a "Vädur" (Ram?) with a flag of victory that "Gutarna" (the people of Gotland) with power and strength (gumsen) had won (the flag) the fight over "hedendomen" non-christianity.
The signature, with todays alphabet, on the flag says: "GUTENSES SIGNE KRISTUS SIGNATUR IN AGNO".
One other point I want to make is that the seal is much older than you describe on the website. The seal is at least from around 1200, maybe older. It is from the time before Gotland was affected by the Danish or Swedish, when it was its own country and called "Gutland" (that is why the people on Gotland still call themselves "Gutar".)
That the lamb was changed to a "Vädur" (Ram?) in the seal suggests that the text is much older than the picture.
This from facts I have kept and the speech I held on the National Day 1990. Sorry for my bad translation of the above. I can work more with the texts I still have and do a better translation when I have better time.
One more thing, Gotland was its own country until 1449 when it became a province of Denmark. I hope this is of interest and would be happy to give you the information I have. I am born and raised on Gotland and even if I live in Singapore today, I will always be a "Gute" and my heart will be on Gotland.
Tommy Pettersson, 06 March 2012

There's quite a bit of information in this, and I would take Tommy Pettersson up on his offer to write it out as such.
But do I understand correctly that all this is to say that the heading of that section is wrong? I'm not certain where the heading comes from;  a quick check shows it was already there in 2001. It probably originally was quoted from one of the sources mentioned. Does anyone have an email  archive going back that far? I take it, however, that it's a reference to the original republic of Gotland: A flag to refer back to that entity, rather than to create a new one.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 07 March 2012

Unofficial proposal for a cross flag

[Gotland] image by Jan Oskar Engene

In 1991 an unofficial proposal for a flag of Gotland appeared. The flag is inspired by that of the neighbouring island Öland, with the colours reversed so that the proposed flag of Gotland is yellow with a green cross. Yellow is for the beaches and green for vegetation. Proportions are 10:16 (4-2-4 : 5-2-9). The proposed cross flag lacks any response locally in Gotland and has never been introduced into actual use. The official flag of Gotland is used to represent the island.

Per Andersson: Nordiska korsflaggor, Mjölby, 1992 [and92]
Clara Nevéus: Ny svensk vapenbok, Stockholm, 1992 [nev92]
Knut Pipping and Leif Tengström: "Huset Vasa, Jagellonerna och Ivan IV Vasilievitj: Några hypoteser om de svenska landskapsvapnens uppkomst", Heraldisk tidsskrift, Vol. 5, No. 49-50, 1984, pp. 107-138 [p8t84]

Jan Oskar Engene, 2 June 1998 (revised)

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