Symbols

The Flag

National flags used to to symbolize a nation or country and are potent patriotic symbols for the inhabitants of those areas. The flag of Denmark, the Dannebrog, inspired the cross design of the other Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and regional Scandinavian flags for the Faroe Islands, Åland, Scania and Bornholm. The Nordic cross is strongly associated with the Nordic countries and has become a powerful example of unity in the Nordic countries. In 2001 Estonia contemplated changing their flag to the same style as the Nordic countries to symbolise their longstanding relations with the rest of the region and independance from the Soviet Union (which shares the tricolor style flag). Greenland also had the discussion of adapting a nordic cross style flag, but opted for a different style flag.

The Flags of the Nordic Countries:

 Sweden  Finland  Denmark  Norway Iceland Estonia

The autonomous territories of the Nordic countries:

Greenland Åland Faroe Islands

The Flag of the Union

In a Union it is necessary to have a joint flag to symbolise the new Union. The Nordic cross theme is strong in the current flags and it is the authors opinion that this tradition should continue in a Nordic union. Previously many of the areas of a possible union was united through the Kalmar Union and the Kalmar Union flag has often been suggested as a symbol for the Nordic Countries. However, it is in the authors opinion that the Kalmar Flag would be a poor choice because of the historical negativity of the Kalmar Union. During the union animosity grew between the countries, especially evident in that the Swedes celebrate June 6. as the independance day from the Kalmar Union.

Three colors are heavily represented in the Nordic flags: red, white and blue, and if basing the new flag on historical patterns these colors should be represented. The author proposes a purple, white and blue flag as it is consistent with both the most prominent style of the flags and the color schemes of the existing flags

Flag
A possible flag for the new Union

There are many thoughts and considerations to make in the selection of a state flag, as it made to last and will have a significant impact on the inhabitants emotions to the state. Therefore it is important that the flag is something that all the inhabitants can agree on, and be proud to hoist. The current Norwegian flag is the closest to what is common amongst the flags in the union, but is hard to imagine that inhabitants will want to hoist a flag that is already a states flag. Mixing the colors red and blue, which is the most prominent ones in many flags, creates purple. A color very scarcely used and generally a rare color symbolising royalty, nobility and elegance. As Purple is not currently used as the main color in any state flag, and will help set the flag apart from the many flags of the world. Colors are important to a population and with this flag purple can be symbolic to the inhabitants of the Nordic Union in a way like orange is to the inhabitants of the Netherlands.

The Monarchy

Currently the countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark are constitutional monarchies where the monarchs functions are mainly ceremonial. Iceland had it’s own monarchy until 1944, while Finland and Estonia ended monarchial rule after gaining independance from the Russian Empire in 1917. The difference in government between the Nordic Countries begs the question: What happens to the monarchies in a Nordic Union?

The scandinavian monarchies are largely viewed in a positive light as they undertake a variety of official, unofficial, ceremonial and  representational duties both nationally and internationally on behalf of the people of their country, and not the sitting government. In addition they provice a more tangible influence as the symbol of national unity. The subject of retaining the royalty is a question that in sure to uproot a lot of feelings amongst the Nordic people. It is impossible to imagine the countries displacing their own monarchs and presidents to unite around one monarch as suggested by Gunnar Wetterberg. It is also hard to imagine an abolishion of the Scandinavian monarchies, or an election of monarchs in the current republics.

 

 Sweden  Finland Denmark  Norway Estonia Iceland
Heads of State

President

Queen

King

President

President

Prime Ministers

Monarchy or Republic?

There are some suggestions to solving the matter, while they are not perfect solutions they serve to show alternatives to the role of the monarchies. As they are important figures and symbols of the nation, it should be up to the inhabitants in each country to decide their fate in a popular referendum, and not a political decition. The role of a monarch in representing the whole union, including the current republics should also be further discussed.

One answer is that it is possible to establish a republic with an elected president as head of state, while still retaining the existing monarchies. The monarchies will be able to continue their duties are representatives of people of the union in ceremonial, official and unofficial task. This ensures that the countries have an elected head of state that represents the whole union in most official settings, while still having the monarchs for unofficial matters.

Another answer is an rotation of the leading monarch in a somewhat similar way as seen in Malaysia. This way the head of state can change between each of the monarchs based on elections. This way one monarch can be the leading monarch for a set amount of time, before passing the torch to the next monarch to fulfill the duties.  It is not a pretty solution, but it can satisfy both the desire to retain the monarchies, and make sure they serve a purpose.

A third solution is to merge the monarchs into a council to work as collective heads of state. This way the monarchs can continue their official duty as appointing the prime-ministers and governments, while also still retaining their current powers and station.

The easiest solution would still be to abolish the monarchy, establish a republic, and have an elected president for the whole union based on a popular referendum much akin to what is practiced in Iceland, Finland and Estonia.

Capital

A further important issue is which city will serve as the unions capital. There are many possible solutions to this problem, as there are many different style of capitals.

Creating a new capital out of a smaller city is one of the solutions. Esepcially if the Nordic Union chooses to go the federal way, a federal capital in a new federal district needs to be chosen and can be built in the same way as Brasilia, Canberra or Washington D.C..

Largest cities
Ten largest cities of the Nordic Union

Another solution is to divide the different branches of government between many major cities as seen in South Africa where the governments juridical, executive and legislative brances are distributed across the country. A similar model might be developed with some of the largest cities as head of each branch of government, but the Nordic Union will have atleast six former capitals, all wanting a piece of the cake. A way of dividing it is that Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm each have a branch, while Copenhagen will be the diplomatic capital and responsible for foreign relations, embassies and consulates. But that still leaves Reykjavik and Tallinn as less prioritized former capitals.

A less messy solution is to choose an existing city as the capital of the Union with all the governmental institutions gathered in one place. It is not hard to imagine discontent amongst the various countries with the capital city of another state being chosen as the captital of the union, for example the other nations inhabitants might feel a bit like their countries are being made part of Sweden if Stockholm is chosen as the unions capital. But, in this case it might be necessary for a few million people to swallow their pride. I believe this is the best solution because it will serve to unify the country in a better way instead of it remaining divided politically.

Largest cities and urban regions in the Nordic Countries
1 Sweden Stockholm 1,372,565
2 Denmark Copenhagen 1,246,611
3 Finland Helsinki 1,176,974
4 Norway Oslo 925,242
5 Sweden Gothenburg 549,839
6 Tallinn 434,330
7 Finland Tampere 317,316
8 Sweden Malmö 280,415
9 Denmark Aarhus 259,754
10 Finland Turku 254,671
http://www.nordregio.se/en/Maps--Graphs/01-Population-and-demography/Population-density-in-2011/
Population density of the Nordic countries

The obvious choice for a capital would be one of the former capitals or one of the largest cities situated at a strategic geographic postition. A diplomatic solution would be to choose a capital on a bording area between two countries. This makes Copenhagen/Malmö a interesting option, and it also makes Åland a possiby very diplomatic soulution. If only counting the Scandinavian countries, Gothenburg would make an excellent candidate for capital, but including Finland and Estonia this geographical centrepoint shifts eastwards. If geographical and demographic accounts is taken in the centre of the Nordic Union would be somewhere in the south of Sweden as seen by the population density map of the Nordic countries (Estonia not included).

I believe the best option would be Stockholm. Stockholm is both the most populous city of the Union, while also being situated close to the geographical centre of the mainland (and most populous) countries. Stockholm already has an important strategic position in the heartland of the union and is a important city on a global scale.

Other symbols

There is a wide range of national symbols important to a country. Most of these are derived from history and since the Nordic countries share most of their history, there is a large amount of similarities in their existing national symbols. A decition on national anthem, motto and coat of arms will have to be made at some point, but not right now.

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