Friday, July 05, 2002

Francis Strand is slightly chilled by excessive American flag waving. It's interesting what an important symbol flags are. I don't like nationalism - but the Norwegian flag has a history closely connected to the development of the country as an independent nation (which we haven't been for a hundred years yet), and has been a symbol of independence and defiance right up to the 20th century. At first Norwegians had the Norwegian Lion on the Danish flag, then the Swedish flag with a red corner and a white diagonal cross, then the Norwegian flag as we know it was a compromise between the danish and the sweedish - with the top inner corner carrying the union mark (the "hering salad"). The Norwegian flag as we know it today would later be flown as a protest against the swedes, when the "clean" flag, with no union mark in the corner, was outlawed. Later it was outlawed again during the second world war, together with the red knitted cap! Norwegians take any opportunity to wave flags... but we have an advantage over Americans: nobody are worried that this flag-waving signals an ambition to take over the world, it's more a quaint little tradition, just like the pretty embroidered national costumes.

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