The flag is supposed to be a national symbol which distinguishes the country from all others in the world. Governments go a long way to ensure that their respective flags are unique and stand out from all others. However, there are a few exceptions where several countries end up having flags which are similar in appearance. The similarities are never done intentionally but happen by accident. Although the flags may be similar in appearance the inspiration and meaning behind their colors are always different.
Romania and Chad
The African nation of Chad and the European nation of Romania have flags which are the most-similar with one requiring a keen eye to spot the difference between the two. The flags of the two countries are both tri-color made up of three differently-colored stripes composed of blue, yellow, and red colors. The only differences between the two flags are in the shades of the three colors as well as in the width-length ratio which is set at 1:2 in the flag of Romania and 2:3 in the flag of Chad. The flag of Chad originally featured the colors which are synonymous with the pan-African movement which are red, gold, and green. However, the independence flag had to be replaced as it was seen to mirror that of another African nation, Mali. To remedy the confusion, Chad redesigned its national flag and dropped the green stripe for a blue stripe. While the new flag was unique in the region, a new problem came up at the end of the 20th Century, and the flag has a near-perfect resemblance to the flag of Romania.
Monaco, Indonesia, and Poland
There are many factors which separate the nations of Poland, Indonesia, and Monaco. However, these very different countries have flags which are similar. The designs of the three national flags are made up of dual stripes composed of white and red bands. The primary difference between the three flags is on their respective dimensions where the flag of Indonesia has a proportion of 2:3 while the flag of Monaco as a proportion of 4:5. On the end of the spectrum is the flag of Poland whose proportion of 5:8 which is almost the same size as that of Monaco. While the flags of Monaco and Indonesia both have the red and white stripes appearing at the top and bottom of the flag respectively, the flag of Poland has it different with the white stripe being on the top and the red stripe is at the bottom.
Ireland and Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast and Ireland have very similar flags with both being tricolors made up of green, white, and orange stripes. However, the arrangement of these stripes differs in the two national flags where the green stripe lies on the fly side of the flag of Ivory Coast while the fly side of the flag of Ireland features the orange stripe. The symbolism of the colors on the flag of Ivory Coast is based on the country’s physical beauty and the beliefs of its citizens. The orange stripe represents the wealth of the country. The white color on the flag of Ivory Coast represents peace while the green stripe represents hope for the future. On the flipside, the inspiration behind the colors seen on the flag of Ireland is based on main religious groups. Two Christian denominations dominate religion landscape in Ireland; the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. The colors symbolize a peaceful coexistence between the two religious groups where orange signifies the Protestants while green symbolizes the Roman Catholics.
Russia, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg
Other countries which have flags which are similar in appearance are Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Russia. Of the three national flags, the flag of Netherlands and that of Luxembourg are most similar where the three horizontal stripes are similarly arranged with the red, white, and blue stripes appearing from top to bottom of the flag. While the two flags appear to mirror each other, they differ in the shades of their respective colors with the flag of Luxembourg appearing in a lighter shade than that of the Netherlands. The stripes are organized differently on the Russian flag and appear as white, blue, and red arranged from top to bottom. However, the flags of Russia and the Netherlands have the same dimensions, both having a 2:3 proportion. On the other hand, the flag of Luxembourg appears with either the proportion of 3:5 or 1:2. Luxembourg is the country which adopted its flag most recently of the three nations and has tried to have the design of its national flag changed to make it unique and not mirror that of the Netherlands.
Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia
Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia have close ties as they are neighboring nations in South America. The close ties can even be seen in the designs of the national flags of the three countries which are similar. The three flags have a tricolor design made up of yellow, blue, and red horizontal bands arranged from top to bottom. The only differences between the three are the size of the horizontal bands and the presence of different symbols and emblems (seen on the flags of Venezuela and Ecuador, and absent on the flag of Colombia). The similarities seen in the three flags stem from the common history shared among the three Latin American countries. The three were originally part of Gran Colombia, a large federation established in the early 19th Century. Gran Colombia’s flag was designed as a tricolor comprised of three horizontal bands of yellow, blue, and red.
While the similarities between the flags are rarely a concern in the affected countries, there are instances where these similarities have plunged the affected nations in diplomatic spats. The world’s most similar flags, the tricolors of Romania and Chad is one example. Chad was concerned of the similarity of two flags and raised a complaint to the United Nations on the issue. Romania was not silent on the matter with the president stating that it would not change the design of its national flag. While Chad had gained independence earlier than Romania, the European country had adopted a variant of the flag as early as the late 19th century, decades before Chad gained independence.