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Gotland, municipality of (Sweden)

Gotlands kommun

Last modified: 2006-02-18 by phil nelson
Keywords: gotland | ram | lamb | visby | wisby | hansa | hanseatic league |
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official flag
[Gotland] image by Jan Oskar Engene

defacto flag
[Gotland] contributed by Valentin Poposki 24 September 2005

See also:

Municipality (commune) of Gotland

The municipality of Gotland was formed in 1971 by the unification of all the former municipalities in the island. The flag of the commune, officially registered in 1987, has a red field with a white standing ram, horns and hooves yellow, carrying a cross staff with a red flag bordered in yellow and with five tails also in yellow. The image here shows the flag as a banner of the arms as officially registered.

However, the municipality actually uses a heraldically incorrect flag that has a white border around the red field. Moreover, this version employs the 1936 version of the drawing of the ram and banner.
Jan Oskar Engene, 1998-Jun-02 (revised)

note: The arms and flag of the municipality are exactly the same as the arms and flag of the province, except for the field which is red like in the old arms of Visby.

History and Geography

Gotland is an island in the Baltic Sea. The island is historically one of Sweden's 24 provinces. In the case of Gotland the territory of the old province, the modern county and the modern commune coincides.

Currently, there are two official flags for the island of Gotland - one for the province and county of Gotland and one for the commune of Gotland.
Jan Oskar Engene, 1998-Jun-02 (revised)

Sources for the texts by Jan Oskar Engene on this page:
· Per Andersson: Nordiska korsflaggor, Mjölby, 1992 [and92]
· Clara Nevéus: Ny svensk vapenbok, Stockholm, 1992 [nev92]
· Knut Pipping and Leif Tengström: "Huset Vasa, Jagellonerna och Ivan IV Vasilievitj: Några hypoteser om de svenska landskapsvapnens uppkomst", Heraldisk tidsskrift, Vol. 5, No. 49-50, 1984, pp. 107-138

Former municipalities on Gotland


[Visby] by Elias Granqvist
The flag is a banner of the arms; arms formally granted on 14 May 1943, based on older tradition.

The seal of the city of Visby originally had an Agnus Dei combined with a tree of lilies (known from the 1340s). As a Hansa city, Visby had a German and also a Gotlandic population. In the 1340s the two communities were united. This was reflected in the seal: The lamb represented the Gotlanders, while the tree of lilies represented the Germans. Later, the tree of lilies disappeared, leaving only the lamb and banner. In 1945, Visby officially got arms with an Agnus Dei in red.
Jan Oskar Engene, 2 June 1998 (revised)

Visby was a town as early as in the Middle Ages. It was a member of the Hansa, and had a great importance for the travel and commerce on the Baltic Sea, as it was situated on Gotland in the centre of the sea. In Visby there was both a Gotlandic and a German population.

The flag is a banner of arms. The arms are based on old tradition but not formally granted until 14 May 1943. As there is no German population left in Visby, the arms (and flag) is based on the seal of Visby's Gotlandic community, used 1288-1340. The armorial tradition of Visby is closely linked to that of Gotland. As Visby is a part of the municipality of Gotland since the 1 of January 1971, its arms and flag is not official anymore.

In German the name of the city has usually been spelled as Wisby, and this was formerly also the rule in Swedish.
Elias Granqvist, 31 March 2001