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What is Finland’s national color?

Finland is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It is known for its vast forests, thousands of lakes, the Northern Lights, and of course, its iconic blue and white flag. But what exactly is the national color of Finland? In this in-depth article, we will examine Finland’s history, culture, and symbols to uncover the meaning behind its distinctive palette.

At first glance, most people would answer that Finland’s national colors are blue and white. This is an obvious choice as these colors dominate their national flag, which has become an instantly recognizable symbol of the country around the world. However, the history behind Finland’s national colors is more nuanced than just their flag.

To understand Finland’s national colors, we must first look at their origins in the 19th century during the rise of Finnish nationalism. During this time, Finland was an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire. The blue and white palette became a symbol of the emerging Finnish identity and desire for greater independence. Over time, as Finland gained nationhood, these colors became cemented as the official national colors.

Beyond the flag, blue and white are also used extensively in Finnish handicrafts, art, clothing, and architecture. They are colors that evoke the blue lakes and white snows of the Finnish landscape. So while blue and white are certainly the preeminent national colors, Finland also draws heavily on an extended color palette inspired by its natural surroundings.

In this article, we will explore the history and meaning behind Finland’s national blue and white colors. We will also highlight some of the other colors that are considered quintessentially Finnish due to their connections to Finnish culture and the environment. Let’s dive into the rich and nuanced world of color in Finland!

The Origins of Blue and White as Finland’s National Colors

The blue and white Finnish flag was first used in 1861 and officially adopted in 1918. But the origins of this color scheme date back even earlier to the 16th century, when the first proto-Finnish flag used a blue cross on a white background. This became the flag of the Storfurstendömet Finland province as part of the Swedish Empire. Blue and white had emerged as the unofficial colors of Finland.

In the 19th century, as nationalism rose and Finland pursued greater autonomy, blue and white became the rallying colors of the Finnish independence movement. They were used on flags, emblems, and other symbols as a show of national pride and identity.

There are a few theories as to why blue and white were chosen:

  • Blue and white were the colors of the Finnish coat of arms.
  • They were the opposite of the Russian red, the color of Finland’s imperial rulers.
  • Blue represents the many lakes of Finland, and white the snow and long winters.
  • They were colors associated with Swedish rule and harkened back to Finland’s ties with Sweden.

Most likely, it was a combination of these factors that elevated blue and white to the role of national colors. By the late 19th century, they were ubiquitous across Finland, even before official independence was achieved.

Blue and White Become Official

In 1917, shortly before Finland declared independence, a competition was held to create an official national flag. The winning design by Eero Snellman adopted the blue cross on a white background. This cemented blue and white as the colors representing the Finnish people.

With Finnish independence in 1918, the new constitution stated that “the colors of the flag of the Republic of Finland shall be blue and white”. Blue and white were now enshrined officially as the Finnish national colors.

The Finnish flag has since appeared with slight variations, such as the official state flag which adds the coat of arms. But the blue and white palette remains constant. These colors are instilled in all Finns from childhood as the undeniable marker of national pride and identity.

Uses of Blue and White in Finnish Culture and History

Beyond just the flag, blue and white are ubiquitous in Finnish culture, art, and design. Here are some of the most prominent examples:

Clothing and Handicrafts

Blue and white dominate traditional Finnish folk dress and textile arts. Here are some examples:

  • The blue skirt and white blouse of the kansallispuvu dress for women
  • Blue jackets or coats with white details for men’s folk dress
  • Blue and white geometric details on shoes, belts, and bags
  • Blue and white porcelain patterns
  • Blue and white details in handwoven textiles and rugs

These blue and white clothing and handicraft motifs reveal how deeply ingrained the colors are as symbols of Finnish heritage and culture.

Architecture and Design

Blue and white are commonly seen in Finnish design and architecture including:

  • Churches with blue and white details
  • Houses painted blue with white trims
  • Blue and white ceramic tiles in Art Nouveau architecture
  • Modern Finnish design that incorporates blue and white themes

Beyond the colorful houses of the past, this color scheme endures even in contemporary Finnish architectural style.


Most Finnish sports teams wear blue and white uniforms. This includes such teams as:

  • The Finland national ice hockey team
  • The Finland national football team
  • The Finland national bandy team
  • Numerous Finnish basketball, floorball, and athletics teams

For Finnish athletes, wearing blue and white represents national pride when competing on the international stage.

Other Quintessential Finnish Colors

While blue and white lead the pack, Finland has other colors that are considered deeply patriotic. These stem from the natural features and resources of Finland.


The vibrant green of Finland’s summer forests and countryside is an essential color. It represents the verdant landscapes and endless wilderness that covers most of Finland.


Different woody shades of brown evoke Finland’s timber resources and rustic cabins immersed in forest. Brown also represents the earthy tones of moose and reindeer, iconic Finnish animals.


Turquoise blue is reminiscent of Finland’s clear lakes in summer. This cool tone captures the essence of the Lakeland scenery.

Silver and Gold

Silver and gold represent the minerals found within Finland. They can also depict the shining Northern Lights swirling across Lapland’s winter skies.


Deep red brings to mind ripe Finnish berries and the tradition of painting rustic wooden cottages red.

While not officially designated as national colors, these natural hues often appear alongside blue and white in handicrafts, clothing, and design as distinctly Finnish tones.

What Colors Represent Finland Around the World?

When people worldwide think of the colors of Finland, blue and white undoubtedly come to mind first thanks to the popularity and visibility of the Finnish flag. Even non-Finns associate blue and white strongly with Finnish national identity and branding.

But global perceptions of Finland also involve darker blue shades representing the midnight sun over hundreds of lakes, as well as Nordic reds and whites conjuring images of Santa Claus and rosy-cheeked winter activities.

Silver and metallic colors also speak to Finland on an international scale, from celebrated Finnish designer brands like Marimekko and Iittala to Nokia phones and other tech innovations.

While the Finnish flag blue captures Finland’s essence in a nutshell, the full spectrum of Finland’s natural and designed beauty enriches its international color associations.

Comparing Finland’s Colors to Other Nordic Countries

Finland shares some color sensibilities with neighboring Nordic countries, but also has distinctive differences.

Country National Colors
Finland Blue and White
Sweden Blue and Yellow
Norway Red, White, and Blue
Denmark Red and White
Iceland Blue, White, and Red

While all the Nordic nations draw on colors inspired by their environments, Finland’s blue and white stand out as the most minimalist and graphic. The simplicity reflects Finland’s understated yet strong visual identity.

How Finland’s Branding Uses National Colors

Finland intentionally leverages its national blue and white in marketing and branding to boost its image and exports worldwide. This strategic design helps Finland’s cultural items and products feel authentically tied to Finnish heritage while also feeling fresh and modern.

Some prime examples of Finnish national coloring include:

  • Finnish designer brands like Marimekko and Iittala using blue and white patterns
  • Finnish chocolate and candy brands like Fazer using blue and white packaging
  • The Finlandia vodka bottle designed in blue and white glass
  • Blue and white ceramic tableware as Finnish design objects
  • Finnish airports, flights, and hotels infusing blue and white in their visual identity
  • Blue and white logos or icons for Government of Finland digital services

This effective national branding gives Finnish items a competitive edge in today’s globalized marketplace while preserving cultural traditions.


In summary, Finland’s iconic national colors of blue and white originated from the quest for independence in the 19th century but draw on centuries of ties to Finnish land and culture. Beyond the ubiquitous flag, they permeate Finnish life from clothing to architecture as symbolic representations of values like purity, strength, and integrity.

While no other hues can dethrone blue and white as the quintessential Finnish colors, the entire Nordic color palette from forest green to Northern Lights silver contributes to Finland’s unique visual brand. The strategic use of national blue and white in design and marketing cement Finland’s identity and achievements in the global spotlight.

So while the red of political struggle or the gold of mineral riches characterize some nations, the blue lakes and white snows of the landscape indelibly define Finland. Blue and white paint the essential Finnish spirit and ethos.