Origins of the Vimpel – Flag Studio
Origins of the Vimpel

Origins of the Vimpel

The vimpel, also known as a pennon or a small flag, has a rich and intriguing history that dates back centuries. This distinctive triangular-shaped flag has been used by various cultures and civilisations as a symbol of identity, pride, and belonging.

In Nordic and Scandinavian tradition, this 'household pennant' is fairly common (FinnishisännänviiriSwedishvimpelNorwegianvimpelDanishvimpel) and can be flown whenever there is no flag flying day.  It usually means that the "master of the house" is at home.

These vimpel pennants have a long, narrow, triangular shape, usually half the length of the flagpole and are also used in some countries for determining the wind direction. Unlike the national flag, which usually has a specific timeframe it can formally be flown during the day, pennants are regarded as more informal, and can be flown all day and night until worn out.

Danish pennants retain the cross of the Dannebrog and are generally very long and thin. The pennants can be connected to the pole like a traditional flag, or via a single lanyard, giving the pennant the ability to rotate while flying.



Faroe Islands  Faroe Islands

Finnish pennants retain the cross design of their national flag. The pennants triangle has a base of roughly one tenth of the length and it is connected to the pole via a single lanyard, giving the pennant the ability to rotate while flying.The shapes, designs and uses of the pennants are however not regulated by law, as long as they do not interfere with uses of the regular flag, which is regulated. It is also allowed to fly a pennant overnight.In addition to the general pennant (which is based on the flag of Finland) and the regional variants, there are also family, city and municipality variants, of which any may be flown. A common practice is to either fly the pennant of the region of residence or the pennant from which the family members come.


Swedish-speaking Finns Swedish speaking Finns

The different regions of Finland have been connected with some traditional colors (often from the coats of arms of the historical provinces of Finland and modern provinces), and these are often reflected in the household pennant. The pennants sometimes also incorporate the regional arm into the design. A common practice is to either fly the pennant of the region of residence or the pennant from which the family members come. As the household pennant is connected to the pole with a single lanyard, the pennant has the ability to revolve around its horizontal axis. Thus, an actual pennant does not have a "top" side, making some of the pennants identical in practice.

Pennant of Åland Pennant of Åland

Pennant of Central Finland Pennant of Central Finland

Pennant of Central Ostrobothnia Pennant of Central Ostrobothnia

Pennant of Kainuu Pennant of Kainuu

Pennant of Karelia Pennant of Karelia

Pennant of Kymenlaakso Pennant of Kymenlaakso

Pennant of Lapland Pennant of Lapland

Pennant of Northern Ostrobothnia Pennant of Northern Ostrobothnia

Pennant of Satakunta Pennant of Satakunta

Pennant of Savonia Pennant of Savonia

Pennant of South Karelia Pennant of South Karelia

Pennant of Southern Ostrobothnia Pennant of Southern Ostrobothnia

Pennant of Southwest Finland Pennant of Southwest Finland

Pennant of Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia Pennant of Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia

Pennant of Tavastia Pennant of Tavastia

Pennant of Uusimaa Pennant of Uusimaa

Pennant of Swedish-speaking Uusimaa/Nyland  Pennant of Swedish-speaking Uusimaa/Nyland

The colors of the coat of arms

Pennant of South Karelia Pennant of South Karelia

Pennant of Kymenlaakso Pennant of Kymenlaakso

Pennant of Pirkanmaa Pennant of Pirkanmaa

Pennant of Ostrobothnia Pennant of Ostrobothnia

Pennant of North Karelia Pennant of North Karelia

Pennant of Päijät-Häme Pennant of Päijät-Häme

Pennant of Päijät-Häme (1983-1997) Pennant of Päijät-Häme (1983-1997)

Pennant of Southwest Finland Pennant of Southwest Finland

Norwegian pennants do not contain the nordic cross and instead uses a single stripe in blue with white borders on a red triangular canvas. Although they may sometimes appear different such as with the nordic cross motif of the national flag, but these alternative designs are very uncommon compared to the single stripe design. Municipal specific pennants are also sometimes used by certain national subdivisions as decorations. When pennants of other Nordic countries are flown in Norway alongside the Norwegian pennant, the design of the single stripe is carried over to the other Nordic pennants.

Norwegian PennantNorwegian Pennant

Oslo PennantOslo Pennant

The design of Swedish pennants, unlike other Nordic pennants, are regulated. These pennants must be half blue and half yellow, with blue on top. Swedish pennants with cross designs are not approved, considered historically inaccurate and is therefore advised to not be used. The length of the pennant should be 1/3 of the flagpole. The colors are not defined, but should match those of the national flag.


Sweden (with cross)Sweden (with cross)


Scania (with cross)Scania (with cross)

Sámi Pennant Sami Pennant

Kven Pennant Kven Pennant

Forest Finn PennantForest Finn Pennant

Ancient origins

The origins of the vimpel can be traced back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt, vimpels were used to denote military ranks and were carried into battle as a symbol of honor and bravery. Similarly, ancient Roman legions used vimpels to identify different cohorts and to boost morale on the battlefield.

Medieval heraldry

During the medieval period, vimpels became an integral part of heraldry. Nobles and knights would display their coats of arms on vimpels, which were often affixed to lances or carried by attendants during tournaments and processions. These vimpels served as a visual representation of their lineage, achievements, and affiliations.

Maritime usage

The vimpel also found its place on the high seas. Sailors would attach vimpels to the mastheads of their ships to identify their vessel from a distance. These flags not only aided in navigation but also acted as a form of communication between ships, allowing sailors to relay messages or warnings.

Modern significance

In modern times, vimpels are still used in various contexts. In sports, vimpels are often displayed by fans to show support for their favorite teams. They can be seen waving proudly in stadiums and arenas, creating a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.

In some cultures, vimpels are used as decorative and ceremonial items. They are displayed during festivals, weddings, and other important occasions, adding a touch of tradition and festivity to the festivities

Abi Morgan

Please leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

Left Continue shopping
Your order

Oh no! You have no items in your cart