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  A new flag for Europe
Updated 09 May 2002, 16.53
The old flag (left) and one of the new ideas

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
European Union and its role

It's time we changed the European Union flag according to a top designer.

Rem Koolhaasa's idea for a new one takes colours from the flags of all the members of the EU.

Students discuss the new design and make their own flags for both the EU and their own identity.

Learning aims

  • The EU's symbol.

  • The importance of symbolism.

  • Discuss why it is hard to share identity.
Read the story 'New 'deckchair' flag for Europe?'.

Ask the class:

  • Why should the EU want to change its flag?

  • What do you think of the proposed design?

  • Who should be consulted over the final choice of flag?
Main activity
Students design their own flags to represent the European Union. Their flags should stick to the traditional rectangular shape.

They should add a written explanation of why they chose particular design features as if they were presenting their idea to the European Commission.

They should explain their choice of:

  • shapes
  • colours
  • images
Extension activity
Students working in groups of four design a flag to represent their group.

They should include representations of their lives. For example:

  • hobbies they have
  • sports they like
  • favourite books and films
  • their family and friends
The finished flag must be agreed upon by all members. They may not divide the flag into four sections.

They should be prepared to explain their flags to the rest of the class.

If possible students present their designs to the class.


When do people successfully share a symbol of identity?
Prompt: Football fans, music fans at a concert, world cup

Why is it hard to produce one flag to please everyone?
Prompt: loss of identity, many old enemies, different countries have different tastes, EU is a relatively new thing

Teachers' Background

  • The current version dating from 1986 boasts 12 stars - 12 being chosen as a pleasingly "perfect" symmetrical arrangement, rather than to represent member nations.

  • Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas thinks that this perfection can be improved upon - his new flag uses 45 vertical stripes, taking colours from every existing member's national flag.

  • The logo - designed in response to a request by European Commission president Romano Prodi to find ways of rebranding the EU - represents Europe's "diversity and unity", according to Mr Koolhaas.

  • With the end of apartheid and white-rule in 1994, South Africa considered a reported 7,000 proposals for a new flag to represent all the races of the fledgling "rainbow nation".

  • Some have suggested adding stars to the existing design as new members join the EU. The United States flag has changed 27 times since the Stars and Stripes was adopted in 1777 - with 25 of those alterations made to add new stars as new states entered the Union.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersTask: European Union: myths and facts
WorldNew 'deckchair' flag for Europe?


Web Links
Flags of the World
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NORTHERN IRELAND curriculum relevance
ENGLAND curriculum relevance
WALES curriculum relevance
SCOTLAND curriculum relevance
What is the European Union?
The Euro is a new kind of money which lots of countries in Europe have decided to use Find out more about the Euro
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