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Blue Flags (Beach Quality)

Foundation for Environmental Education

Last modified: 2005-12-31 by rob raeside
Keywords: blue flag | beach quality | fee | feee |
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[generic Blue Flag] image by Jorge Candeias

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Other sites:

The European Blue Flag program

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of Member organisations representing 25 European countries.

The program of the European Blue Flag has been working since 15 years.

The countries participating to the program are:

Belgium | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | | Lithuania | Netherlands | Norway | Portugal | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Turkey | United Kingdom

More than 2,400 beaches and marinas are now participating in the programme.

Iceland, Romania, Morocco, Montenegro and the Caribbean are working on establishing the Blue Flag Campaign.

Santiago Tazon & Jan Mertens, 19 June 2003

The Blue Flag

The Blue Flag is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE).
The Blue Flag is a widely recognised eco-label. This is awarded to beaches and marinas where environmental protection is a high priority in site management and information encourages care for the environment.

The award of the Blue Flag is presently based on 27 specific criteria for beaches and 16 specific criteria for marinas. Though the specific requirements are different for the two types of sites, they cover the same four aspects:

  • Water Quality
  • Environmental Education and Information
  • Environmental Management
  • Safety and Services

Some criteria are imperative whereas other are guideline criteria.

All Blue Flags are only awarded for one season at a time. By renewing the award each season the Campaign ensures that the beaches and marinas are constantly living up to the criteria. If some of the imperative criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag will be withdrawn.

Pascal Gross, 14 August 2000

Variants of the Blue Flag

[2000 Blue Flag] image by Jorge Candeias

Note that the flag, as the example shown on the top of this page (after a picture published in 20 Minutes, French edition, on 12 May 2002) should have inscribed in white characters in the canton the year for which it was granted and in the lower hoist the acronym Feee [or Fee] and copyright sign. That is because the flag is granted for one year only, and the next year the competition starts anew.

In Croatia the year is written with a dot after the year (e.g. 2002.), which is the grammatical proper form in Croatian.

Only the flags that are really hoisted on the beaches and other appropriate sites contain the year and acronym. Small table flags seen in hotel receptions and such places, as well as most of the promotional posters explaining the flag, do not contain those numbers/acronym.

Željko Heimer, 22 May 2002

[2005 Blue Flag] image by Jorge Candeias

The Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe morphed into the Foundation for Environmental Education in order to accommodate non-European countries. The abbreviation therefore has reduced to Fee on the flag.
Ivan Sache, 30 May 2005

[1989 Blue Flag] image by Jorge Candeias

A possible earlier version of the FEEE beach quality blue flag.  This flag is not certain, being the product of my memory of having seen it flying at local beaches 15 years ago. I am relatively sure about the ring of stars, but considering the time lag involved, I am far from being sure that they were yellow in colour.
Jorge Candeias
, 14 November 2005

The Blue Pennant

Starting 2003, individual boat owners can earn a Blue Pennant. First in Belgium is Ms. Elisabeth Lemmens of the Antwerp Willemdok yacht harbour. I saw this pennant very briefly on TV news. A Blue Flag costs 125 euros whereas a Blue Pennant costs 8 euros.

Jan Mertens, 19 June 2003