Vexillology

Extensive List of Similar Flags from Around the World

World Flag Map

While watching the Olympic Parade of Nations, it had happened more than once when I thought “phew, didn’t I saw that flag just a few minutes ago?”. Though I later realised it’s a different country, but it had often left me confused, and I bet the same happened to you too. So to avoid further confusions in the future, here’s the complete list of the similar or look-alike flags from around the world – and trust me, there are a lot more flags that have close resemblance than I thought there would be. So here it goes!

Chad, Romania, Andorra, and Moldova

With vertical tricolour of blue, yellow, and red, flags of Chad and Romania are almost impossible to differentiate, though they are located in two different continents. Andorra and Moldova’s flag is also the same, except they have their coats of arms in the middle.
Flag of Chad Flag of Romania Flag of Andorra Flag of Moldova

Belgium and Germany

Their flags share the same colours, but Belgium’s stripes are vertical while Germany’s are horizontal. This can be confusing for many, and in 2018, Canada accidentally welcomed the Belgian royal family with a German flag.
Flag of Belgium Flag of Germany

Bahrain and Qatar

Middle Eastern country Qatar’s flag is very similar to the flag of neighbouring Bahrain, which has fewer points, a 3:5 proportion, and a red colour instead of maroon. Also, Qatar’s flag is the only national flag having a width more than twice its height.
Flag of Bahrain Flag of Qatar

Thailand and Costa Rica

Tropical countries Thailand and Costa Rica are both popular tourist destinations. Their flags are quite similar, but with reversed colours and an addition of Costa Rican coat of arms.
Flag of Thailand Flag of Costa Rica

Cuba and Puerto Rico

They are similar in design, but with inverted colours. Also, the Puerto Rican flag is a bit squared in comparison with the Cuban flag, with the star being bigger.
Flag of Cuba Flag of Puerto Rico

Uruguay and Greece

Both flags have blue and white stripes, nine to be exact. The primary difference is that Greece has 5 blue and 4 white, while Uruguay has 5 white and 4 blue. The canton also has differing symbols, Greece has a cross and Uruguay has a sun.
Flag of Uruguay Flag of Greece

Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras

All four flags comprise of three horizontal stripes of blue and white, but differ from each other by the sun face, stars, and coat of arms in the middle.
Flag of Argentina Flag of El Salvador Flag of Nicaragua Flag of Honduras

Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Yemen

Flags of all four countries consist of Pan-Arab tricolour of red, white, and black bands. The distinguishable difference is that the Syrian flag features two five-pointed green stars; Egyptian flag bears Egypt’s national emblem the Eagle of Saladin; Iraqi flag bears the text “God is great” in Arabic; while Yemeni flag has none of it.
Flag of Syria Flag of Flag of Flag of Yemen

Jordan, Palestine, and Sudan

These flags contain all the four Pan-Arab colours with a chevron or triangle on them. Jordan’s flag in addition has a seven-pointed star, referring to the unity of Arab people.
Flag of Jordan Flag of Palestine Flag of Sudan

Indonesia, Monaco, Singapore, and Poland

Indonesia and Monaco has identical flags, same as Singapore except it has a crescent and stars on it. The flag of Poland has the reverse colours.
Flag of Indonesia Flag of Monaco Flag of Singapore Flag of Poland

Italy and Mexico

The flags of Italy and Mexico are almost the same except Mexico has it’s coats of arms in the centre, depicting a Mexican golden eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a rattlesnake.
Flag of Italy Flag of Mexico

Ivory Coast and Ireland

Ireland is close to the Italian flag, except it ends with orange instead of red. It has a length to width ratio of 2:1, which means it is longer than most other flags. Flag of Ivory Coast is just the opposite, with orange closest to the flagpole. It has a length to width ratio of 2:3 so it is inline with most other national flags.
Flag of Ireland Flag of Ivory Coast

Haiti and Liechtenstein

During the 1936 Olympics, these two countries realised that they were using the same flag. Haiti’s civilian flag used for sporting events was the same as Liechtenstein’s with horizontal blue and red bands. After the similarity came to light, Liechtenstein added a gold crown to their flag. Haiti’s civilian flag is still the same, without the coat of arms used on their national flag.
Flag of Haiti Flag of Liechtenstein

Peru and Canada

Both the flags consist of red and white, with a red maple leaf centred on the Canadian flag.
Flag of Peru Flag of Canada

Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea

These four flags share the same dimensions and basic tricolor design of vertical stripes. Cameroon and Senegal’s flag are distinguished by a star on the central stripe.
Flag of Cameroon Flag of Senegal Flag of Mali Flag of Guinea

Ghana and Bolivia

Ghana and Bolivia have the same colour combinations, but different embellishments.
Flag of Ghana Flag of Bolivia

Netherlands, Luxembourg, Paraguay, and Croatia

Flags of Luxembourg and Netherlands are not easy to differentiate as they look the same, with subtle difference on shades of red and blue on their stripes. Paraguay’s flag is similar, in addition of an emblem. This flag is unusual because it differs on its obverse and reverse sides, the obverse of the flag shows the national coat of arms, and the reverse shows the seal of the treasury. Croatia’s flag has a shield, in the red and white checks of the country. Above it is a crown made of shields of its various regions.
Flag of Netherlands Flag of Luxembourg Flag of Paraguay Flag of Croatia

Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Serbia

Modelled on the Dutch tricolour, the Russian flag inspired flag designs of many countries of eastern and southern Europe. Two flags that most closely resemble the Russian flag are flags of Slovakia and Slovenia, which differ mainly in being longer than the Russian flag and incorporating their respective country’s coat of arms into the flag design. Flags that are variations on the Russian model include Serbian flag, which use a reverse horizontal stripe pattern along with their coat of arms.
Flag of Russia Flag of Slovenia Flag of Slovakia Flag of Serbia

India and Niger

Both the flags have horizontal tricolour of orange, white, and green, with a 24-spoke wheel called Ashoka Chakra on the centre of Indian flag. Niger’s flag have a disc instead of wheel, represeting sun or independence.
Flag of India Flag of Niger

Hungary and Tajikistan

They have the same tricolours with an addition of a crown surmounted by an arc of seven stars at the center on Tajik flag.
Flag of Hungary Flag of Tajikistan

Latvia, Austria, and Lebanon

Austria and Latvia are red with a horizontal white stripe in the middle. Lebanon is similar but has green cedar tree in the centre.
Flag of Latvia Flag of Austria Flag of Lebanon

Norway, Iceland, Aland Islands, Faroe Islands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and England

All Nordic countries except Greenland have adopted similar flag patterns with the Scandinavian cross on them. England’s flag uses Saint George’s cross on it.
Flag of Norway Flag of Iceland Flag of Aland Islands Flag of Faroe Islands
Flag of Sweden Flag of Finland Flag of Denmark Flag of Eenmark

Vietnam, Morocco, Somalia, and Micronesia

Vietnam, Morocco, and Somalia have a big star on a one-colour background. Multiply the stars by four, and you get the Micronesian flag.
Flag of Vietnam Flag of Morocco Flag of Somalia Flag of Micronesia

Samoa, Taiwan, and China

Samoa has a very similar flag to Taiwan, consisting a red field with a blue canton bearing the Southern Cross constellation. Taiwan’s canton has a disc with twelve triangles surrounding it, symbolizing the sun and rays of light emanating from it. China’s canton has five golden stars and hence known as Five-starred Red Flag.
Flag of Saoma Flag of Taiwan Flag of China

Turkey and Tunisia

Tunisian flag is based on the Turkish flag, a reminder of once being part of the Ottoman Empire. Star and crescent represent the Islamic world, which is also present on flags of Algeria, Azerbaijan, Libya, Pakistan, Mauritania, and others.
Flag of Flag of

Cyprus, Kosovo, Antarctica, and United Nations

Three flags use maps of their territory: Cyprus, Kosovo, and Antarctica, which is not a country but a continent. UN flag on the other hand represents the whole world.
Flag of Cyprus Flag of Kosovo Flag of Antarctica Flag of United Nations

Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela

A flag of unequal yellow, blue, and red horizontal stripes was adopted by the new country of Gran Colombia in 1822. Although the country dissolved in 1830, the succeeding states of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela incorporated that flag’s tricoulor design into their respective flags.
Flag of Colombia Flag of Ecuador Flag of Venezuela

Bhutan, Wales, and Malta

Bhutan, Wales, and Malta are the only countries the world whose flags have dragons on them. Though it’s obvious on the first two, a very close look at the cross on the Maltese flag will reveal an unexpected dragon, being fought by Saint George.
Flag of Bhutan Flag of Wales Flag of Malta

United Kingdom and Basque Country

United Kingdom and Basque Country (an autonomous community) and have crosses on top of each other.
Flag of United Kingdom Flag of Basque Country

Australia and New Zealand

Both flags are based on the British Blue Ensign (blue field with a Union Jack in the canton, or top inner corner) and feature a stylized version of the Southern Cross constellation. However, they differ in several ways: the design of the constellation (five white seven-pointed stars for Australia, four red-and-white five-pointed stars for New Zealand); the addition of a sixth, larger, “commonwealth” star on the Australian flag; and shade differences in the blues and reds.

Flag of Australia Flag of New Zealand

Ascension, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Falkland Islands, St. Helena, Pitcairn Islands, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Montserrat

Flags of British Overseas Territories (BOTs) follow the Blue Ensign design, with the Union Flag in the canton and the territory’s coat of arms in the fly. Cook Islands is an exception on this list, which is not a BOT but a self-governing island country.
Flag of Ascension Flag of British Virgin Islands Flag of Cayman Islands Flag of Cook Islands
Flag of Falkland Islands Flag of St. Helena Flag of Pitcairn Islands Flag of Tristan da Cunha
Flag of Turks and Caicos Islands Flag of Montserrat

Bermuda, Fiji, and Niue

Bermuda is the only country among British Overseas Territories which uses a Red Ensign instead of Blue. Flags of Fiji and Niue uses the Union Jack, an reminiscence of their colonial past.
Flag of Bermuda Flag of Fiji Flag of Niue

Guernsey, Switzerland, Red Cross, and Tonga

The flag of Guernsey consists of the red Saint George’s Cross with an additional gold Norman cross within it. The flag of Switzerland has a white cross in the centre of a square red field, which is known as the Swiss cross. The symbol the Red Cross represents an inverted Swiss flag as a tribute to Henry Dunant, the Swiss founder of the organisation. Combine the colours and put the cross on canton, and you get the flag of Tonga.

Flag of switzerland Flag of switzerland Flag of IRCC Flag of Tonga

United States of America, Malaysia, and Liberia

All the three flags have a blue canton and stripes. The design evolved from the British East India Company or Grand Union flag, though they all have their own meanings.
Flag of United States Flag of Malaysia Flag of Liberia

Nigeria and Norfolk Island

Nigeria in western Africa and Norfolk Island is a territory of Australia, with probably nothing in common except their flags. The Pine tree on Norfolk Island flag is what differentiates it from the Nigerian flag.
Flag of Nigeria Flag of Norfolk Island

Tanzania and Saint Kitts and Nevis

Both the flags of eastern African country Tanzania and Caribbean country Saint Kitts and Nevis consist of a yellow-edged black diagonal bands, but the later contains two five-pointed white stars on it. Colour of the lower triangle is also different.
Flag of Nigeria Flag of Norfolk Island

Bangladesh, Japan, and Palau

There are two flags that are similar to the flag of my homeland Bangladesh, the flags of Japan and Palau. Other than the colours and their meanings, the key difference is that the disc on Palau’s flag represents the moon, while it means the sun on other two.
Flag of Bangladesh Flag of Japan Flag of Palau

Laos and Greenland

Both the flags of Laos and Greenland have a disc on them as well.
Flag of Laos Flag of Greenland

If there are any flags that I’ve accidentally missed out, then please comment below and I’ll include it on the listing. Thanks!

Last updated on December 22, 2019 @ 4:11 BST.

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