Flag of Europe
Adopted December 8, 1955
Designed by Arsène Heitz [1]
Proportions 2:3

The flag of Europe, also the flag of the European Union, [2] comprises of a ring of twelve upwards facing golden five-pointed stars on a blue field. Or in the European Union's heraldic description:

On an azure field a circle of twelve golden mullets, their points not touching.


The Council of Europe describes the symbolism of the European flag as follows:

Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars represent the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity. Their number shall be invariably set at twelve, the symbol of completeness and perfection ... just like the twelve signs of the zodiac represent the whole universe, the twelve gold stars stand for all peoples of Europe – including those who cannot as yet take part in building up Europe in unity and peace.

The resemblance of the flag to the canton of the United States Betsy Ross flag has often made people think that the number of stars in the design is somehow connected to the amount of countries in the European Union, like the stars in the flag of the United States represent the amount of states. This assumption however is false, especially considering the already mentioned fact that the flag is not solely the flag of the European Union. This assumption has lead to erroneous flags with fifteen stars and even to controversy at the time when it was adopted.

The number twelve represents perfection for the following reasons:

  • 12 hours on a clock
  • 12 months in a year
  • 12 symbols of the zodiac
  • 12 Apostles
  • 12 sons of Jacob
  • 12 Semitones in an octave
  • 12 days of Christmas
  • 12 Caesars chronicled by Suetonius
  • 12 Olympian gods
  • 12 labours of Hercules
  • 12 tables of Roman Law
  • 12 Hues in the colour wheel, star or sphere

The Virgin Mary with a halo of twelve stars.

The circle of stars bears a striking similarity to the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary seen in Roman Catholic art. The flag's designer, Arsène Heitz, has acknowledged that the Book of Revelation (which is where the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary was first mentioned) helped to inspire him. Revelation 12:1 is cited to explain the symbolism:

A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars

However, the official authorities of the European Union disregard the biblical interpretation as myth.


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European Flags[]

Europe.svg Europe
Albania.svg Albania Andorra.svg Andorra Armenia.svg Armenia Austria.svg Austria Azerbaijan.svg Azerbaijan Belarus.svg Belarus
Belgium.svg Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria Croatia.svg Croatia Cyprus.svg Cyprus Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic
Denmark.svg Denmark Estonia.svg Estonia Finland.svg Finland France.svg France Georgia.svg Georgia Germany.svg Germany
Greece.svg Greece Hungary.svg Hungary Iceland.svg Iceland Ireland.svg Ireland Italy.svg Italy Kazakhstan.svg Kazakhstan
Kosovo.svg Kosovo Latvia.svg Latvia Liechtenstein.svg Liechtenstein Lithuania.svg Lithuania Luxembourg.svg Luxembourg Macedonia.svg Macedonia
Malta.svg Malta Moldova.svg Moldova Monaco.svg Monaco Montenegro.svg Montenegro Netherlands.svg Netherlands Norway.svg Norway
Poland.svg Poland Portugal.svg Portugal Romania.svg Romania Russia.svg Russia San Marino.svg San Marino Serbia.svg Serbia
Slovakia.svg Slovakia Slovenia.svg Slovenia Spain.svg Spain Sweden.svg Sweden Switzerland.svg Switzerland Turkey.svg Turkey
Ukraine.svg Ukraine United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Vatican City.svg Vatican City