The flag of Scania
An article by Niclas Fogwall: © 2015

Here I will shortly describe the history of the flag of Scania (in Swedish: Skåneflaggan) and will also mention the dramatic events that occured during the 17th century when the region was conquered by the Swedes.

    Scania and the Scanian people

In the most southern part of Sweden, you will find Scania (Skåne), known for its productive farming and gastronomic culture as well as a vivid art and music scene. The Scanians are known for their calmness and confidence. They are also traditionally pictured as lazy and fat, propably because they did not need to work as hard as Swedish farmers did during the famine years. During the summers, Scania is frequently visited by Swedes up north, especially from the capital Stockholm, and by Danes and Germans. Moreover, many Poles work and live in Scania thanks to the rather close distance to Poland. Scania's nearest neighbour, Denmark with its capital Copenhagen (København), is situated across the sound at the west coast.

    History of the Scanian flag

The first historical proof of the flag as such derives from 1871 when the history professor Martin Weibull created it as a mix between the Danish (Dannebrogen) and the Swedish flag. The choice of colours was probably not a coincidence since they were also used on the Scanian griffin of 1660. There is also a theory among some historians that, during the 12th century, the Archbishop of Lund carried a banner with a yellow cross on red background. It was, however, not until the 1960's that the flag as a provincial symbol became more common. During that period, the perception of the Scanian flag varied considerably. For Swedes with origin north of the Scanian border it was often considered ridiculous or irritating with respect to the purported plans of Scanians to reunite with Denmark. These rather hysterical reactions showed that Sweden found it difficult to accept cultural diversity.

    The use of the Scanian flag today

The region council of Scania as well as several municipalities, funded by taxes, are since the 1990's using the Scanian flag officially, side by side with the Scanian griffin, the EU flag and the Swedish flag. There are several organizations in Scania that work for the purpose to make the Scanian flag widely used, e.g. by celebrating the day of the Scanian flag (on the third Sunday in July) and by conferring a distinction upon those who consider through their work to boost public relations of Scania.

   Patriotism causing irritation

The Scanians have always been confident and proud of their region and distinguish themselves through their special accent, influenced by the Danish language. The landscape is typical Danish and the Scanian flag is used in many events. This regional patriotism is regarded as somewhat provocative by the Swedes north of the Scanian border. However, there has never occured any widely popular separatist movement, apart from a populistic Scania Party which enjoyed certain limited success in the 1980's.

   History catching up with the future

Although the Scanian flag has a cultural and patriotic significance, it might also turn into a symbol of separatism if the Scanian people would become more aware of the dark history of their region. The people of Scania has been lied to for many generations through falsified history description ever since the Swedes broke the peace agreement of 1658 where they promised to preserve the language, culture, rights and historical identity of the Scanian people. Homicide occured, and those who opposed the aggression, and they were many, were tortured to death and their corps displayed in public. The negligence of historical identity of the Scanian people is proven by the preservation of the statue of the tyrannic Swedish king Karl X. It was erected on the largest square in Malmö in 1896. A few local politicians have brought up the subject for discussion but sadly without any sympathies.

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