Norwegian Flag Rules Explained (Laws And Regulations For Flagging In Norway)

Norway has its own unique flag that we are proud of, just like most countries. The flag comes with a lot of rules and regulations, and there are some basic rules that you should be aware of if you are handling a Norwegian flag.

The flag rules of Norway does not apply to private people by law, but it’s still considered disrespectful to break the rules. The most important rules are to not flag when it’s dark outside, or to let the flag touch the ground.

Norwegian flag
A Norwegian flag. Photo published with permission.

And as with all rules and regulations, it’s always a bit more complicated than what can be summarized in a few sentences. So, let’s take a deep dive into the different flag rules of Norway!

When to raise your Norwegian flag in the flagpole

The rule for when to keep your Norwegian flag flagging on the flag pole is when there’s daylight outside. So if you raise it after the sun has risen, and take it back down before the sun goes down, you’re good.

However, since the exact time for dawn and dusk changes every single day, the flag rules made some exceptions to make it a bit easier for people to keep track of it.

The general rule is to raise the flag at 08.00 and take it down by either sundown or before 21.00 between March and October. Between October and March, raise the flag at 09.00 and keep it up until dusk.

It’s considered offensive to keep the flag on the flagpole after sundown, so this is the most important thing to remember. It’s better to take it down a bit early than to keep it raised after dusk.

There is also some exceptions for the northernmost regions of Norway. In Northern-Norway, raise the flag at 10.00 and take it down by 15.00 between November and March.

The reason for this exception is that Northern-Norway has polar nights in the winter, so there’s not real dawn or dusk during this time period.

The dates for flagging on a flag pole in Norway

There are some official dates for flagging a Norwegian flag on a flagpole, and they are as follows:

  • January 1.
  • January 21 (The birthday of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway).
  • February 6 (National Day for the Sámi people).
  • February 21 (Birthday of Harald V of Norway).
  • May 1 (Labor Day).
  • May 8 (Liberation day in 1945).
  • May 17 (Norway’s National Day).
  • June 7 (Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden).
  • July 4 (Birthday of Queen Sonja of Norway).
  • July 20 (Birthday of Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway).
  • July 29 (Olsok).
  • August 19 (Birthday of Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway).
  • December 25 (Christmas Day).

The three days below have changing dates, so the exact date will be different every time:

  • First Day of Easter (Changes, but usually around the end of April).
  • First Day of Pentecost (Changes, usually around the beginning of June.
  • Voting Day (Every 4th year).

There can also be additional flag days that can be applied on short notice, but these are very rare.

Read more about official flag days here.

There’s also some half-flag days. This is a symbol of mourning, and you are free to flag on a half pole if you want to mourn someone that passed away. When flagging on a half pole, raise the flag to the top, then lower it to 2/3 of the way, and stick to the rest of the rules when it comes to the flagging times.

A cabin in Saltstraumen with a Norwegian flag
A cabin in Saltstraumen with a Norwegian flag. Photo published with permission.

Other flag rules that you should follow when handling the Norwegian flag

There are other smaller and bigger rules when it comes to handling the Norwegian flag, both for bigger flag on flag poles as well as handheld Norwegian flags. Some of the most common things to be aware of are:

  • The flag should never touch the ground.
  • Always treat flags with respect.
  • All flags should have a length that is 1/3 of the length of the pole.
  • You should use two flags on the same flag pole.
  • Never use nails or anything else to attach flags to use as decorations.
  • Do not step on or walk on a flag.
  • Destroyed flags should either be burned, or cut to small pieces in a way that separates all the colors from each other.
Norwegian flags on May 17
Norwegian flags on May 17. Photo published with permission.

Public buildings are required by law to follow the flag rules

The law called “Lov on Norges Flag” regulates how public buildings can use the Norwegian flag, and they are breaking the law if they flag in an incorrect manner. So schools, government buildings or other places that flag in the wrong way can get fined. It’s not common for places to actually get fines, but they will usually get a warning about doing it wrong.

However, regular people are not bound by any flagging laws, so you are encouraged to respect the flag rules, but not forced to. Your neighbors will probably take notice and might even have a talk with you if you break the flagging rules, but the police won’t come and give you a fine for it.

The Norwegian flag
The Norwegian flag. Photo by Aksel Lian / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Where the Norwegian flag laws are found

The laws that regulate the use of the Norwegian flag are found in the law called flaggforskriften (can be translated to flag regulations). This regulation began in 1927, but has since had several updates. The most recent update was in 2004 when the government added official flag days to the regulation law.

The flag regulations are only available in Norwegian, but these are the official rules the all government and public buildings must follow when flagging the Norwegian flag.

A Norwegian flag at the top of Ulriken in Bergen
A Norwegian flag at the top of Ulriken in Bergen. Photo by VS6507 / CC BY-SA 4.0.

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