Flag Fail

Right now I’m memorizing the flags of every country in the world. As with all kinds of memorization, Anki makes this immeasurably easier. I’m a little less than halfway done.

But flags are strange, and the more you learn about them, the more weird little things you begin to notice.

For instance: what are the requirements for a national flag? It should represent your nation, it should use meaningful colors and symbols, it should be a source of pride…blah, blah, blah.

When you get down to brass tacks, there’s only one real requirement for a national flag: it should be unique. It should successfully identify your nation as separate from all other nations.


Sadly, some flags don’t even manage that.

For instance, here’s the Netherlands:

Not exactly unusual, a little similar to Russia and France, but still, a solid tricolor. Can’t beat red, white, and blue.

Luxembourg thought so too. Here’s their flag:

Okay, you’re thinking, maybe that’s not so bad. Yeah, they’re pretty close, but Luxembourg is still visibly lighter, isn’t it? They’re not exactly the same colors. No two countries would pick exactly the same colors…would they?

You tell me. Here’s Indonesia:

…and here’s Monaco:

Well, all right, the colors are the same. But the proportions are a bit different. They’re both rectangles, but Monaco is more square-ish, isn’t it? That’s something, right?

No two countries would pick flags so alike in both color and ratio as to be virtually indistinguishable, would they?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Romania:

…and Chad:


In the face of such painful patriotic plagiarism, let’s give credit where it’s due. When it comes to originality, one country stands head, shoulders, and mountains above the rest.

You stay classy, Nepal.

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