The people’s flag. Posters with the Dannebrog

New exhibition from 25 January, 2019.

In 2019 it is 800 years since, according to legend, the Dannebrog fluttered down from the sky. To mark the occasion, the Danish Poster Museum in Den Gamle By is showing an exhibition of about 137 posters. They show how the Danish flag is used surprisingly often on posters of all kinds, expressing passion and national pride, but also with strong humour and ironic distance.

The Dannebrog means a lot to the Danish people. We Danes grow up with the flag – it appears when a baby is born, baptised or named, at birthdays, and on any occasion when we are happy or have something to celebrate. The flag is absolutely our strongest symbol of a common factor and a shared Danish identity. That is also why we are sensitive about the Dannebrog, and our feelings are deeply hurt if anyone tramples or spits on our flag, or if a group whose ideas we do not agree with tries to take the flag for themselves. It feels like a slap in the face. 

But how has a piece of red fabric with a white cross come to mean so much to us? It is not so hard to understand when you hear the legend about our flag being sent from heaven, and how use of the flag has developed through history, and when you see how important the flag is in our everyday lives and on important occasions, in joy or sorrow. Through its long history the flag has become an important form of expression for us Danes, not just to show our identity, but also as a barometer of feelings. For Danes the Dannebrog is close to their hearts, and that is clearly reflected in the posters.

The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday 26 January 2019, and can be seen until 11 August.