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Flag of Estonia

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Title: Flag of Estonia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Outline of Estonia, National symbols of Estonia, Culture of Estonia, Estonia–Russia relations, Flags of Europe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Flag of Estonia

Use Civil and state flag, civil ensign
Proportion 7:11
Adopted November 21, 1918, 1988
Design A horizontal triband of blue, black and white
Variant flag of Estonia
Use Naval ensign
Proportion 7:13
Adopted 1991
Design Tri-color, swallow-tailed, defaced with the shield of the state arms off-set towards hoist.

The national flag of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti lipp) is a tricolour featuring three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white. The normal size is 105 × 165 cm. In Estonian it is colloquially called the "sinimustvalge" (literally "blue-black-white"), after the colours of the bands.


The story of the flag begins 17 September 1881, when the constituent Assembly of the first Estonian national student Corps "Vironia" in the city of Tartu was also identified in color, later became national.[1]


The flag became associated with Estonian nationalism and was used as the national flag (riigilipp) when the Estonian Declaration of Independence was issued on February 24, 1918. The flag was formally adopted on November 21, 1918. December 12, 1918, was the first time the flag was raised as the national symbol atop of the Pikk Hermann Tower in Tallinn.[1]

Soviet occupation

The invasion by the Soviet Union in June 1940 led to the flag's ban. It was taken down from the most symbolic location, the tower of Pikk Hermann in Tallinn, on June 21, 1940, when Estonia was still formally independent. On the next day, 22 June, it was hoisted along with the red flag. The tricolour disappeared completely from the tower on July 27, 1940, and was replaced by the flag of Estonian SSR.

German occupation

During the German occupation from 1941 until 1944, the flag was accepted as the ethnic flag of Estonians but not the national flag. After the German retreat from Tallinn in September 1944, the Estonian flag was hoisted once again.

1989 was the first year during the second Soviet occupation, when showing the national flag became widespread. Jaan Künnap in the top of Lenin Peak. This was the first time when Estonian flag reached over 7000 m.

Second Soviet occupation

When the Red Army arrived on 22 September, the red flag was just added at first. Soon afterwards, however, the blue-black-white flag disappeared.

The flag remained illegal until the days of perestroika in the late 1980s. 21 October 1987 was the first time when Soviet forces didn't dared to take the flag that had been put up in a public event. 24 February 1989 the blue-black-white flag was again flown from the Pikk Hermann tower in Tallinn. It was formally re-declared as the national flag on 7 August 1990, little over a year before Estonia regained full independence.


A possible source for the tricolour: a forest in winter.

There are a number of interpretations attributed to the colours of the flag. A historical interpretation of the colours has blue representing ancient freedom, truth, sky and sea, black symbolizing soil, lost independence and dark coats, and white, the promise and pursuit of a brighter future.

Another interpretation made popular by the poetry of Martin Lipp is as follows:[2]

  • blue: vaulted blue sky above the native land;
  • black: attachment to the soil of the homeland as well as the fate of Estonians – for centuries black with worries;
  • white: purity, hard work, and commitment


Estonian flag (blue)
    Color coordinates
Hex triplet #1291FF
sRGBB  (rgb) (18, 145, 255)
Source []
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

The shade of blue is defined in the Estonian flag law as follows: Blue tone is on the international PANTONE table of colours 285 C.

CMYK equivalents: C=91, M=43, Y=0, K=0

RGB equivalents: R=18, G=145, B=255

HEX notation: #1291FF

according to Estonian WorldHeritage, the "black" is actually a dark brown (RGB: 51,43,3)

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