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Flags of the World
Flag of FOTW.svg
Official flag
Headquartersnominally Wolfville, NS, Canada[1]
  • intangible
Official language
Ivan Sache
Key people
Rob Raeside, Editorial Director
Nathan Lamm, Assistant-Listmaster
Jan Mertens, Apprentice-Listmaster
Websitemain[1] mirror list
For a list of flags, see List of flags or Gallery of flags by design.

Flags of the World (or FOTW, or FotW) is an Internet-based vexillological association and resource. Its principal project is the Internet's largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about all kinds of flags,[1] and an associated mailing list. The mailing list began as a discussion group in about September 1993, while the website was founded by Giuseppe Bottasini in late 1994.[3] FotW became the 56th member of the FIAV in 2001.[1]

Flags of the World describes itself as " Internet group, the sole purpose of which is the advancement of the pursuit of vexillology, that is the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags and flag usage of all types."[4]

Both the website and the mailing list operate in the English language,[1] though there are members from around the world and as such information from many languages is translated and included. The mailing list is monitored by the FOTW Listmaster, while work on the website is coordinated by the FOTW Editorial Director.


An editorial staff of 21 unpaid volunteers[5] manages and edits the FOTW website, which (as of mid-2009) contains more than 41,000 pages about flags and more than 78,000 images of flags,[6] and also includes an extensive online dictionary of vexillology.

The website is updated once a week with fresh material; some mirrors update monthly. Due to the high amount of material there is an editing backlog, causing some areas of FOTW to contain outdated information. There are also some mirrors that have not been updated for varying periods of time and which are therefore considered "historical."

Site Statistics
Year Pages Images Images/Page Increase
1996 674 710 1.05
1997 1100 1400 1.27 81%
1998 1900 3600 1.89 120%
1999 2400 5000 2.08 35%
2000 8200 14900 1.81 212%
2001 11400 20700 1.81 39%
2002 16600 29400 1.77 43%
2003 19000 36000 1.89 20%
2004 23000 43000 1.87 20%
2005 29000 54000 1.86 26%
2006 31000 58000 1.87 7%

Mailing list

The source for material on the FOTW website are contributions to the FOTW mailing list, which currently has somewhat over 1000 members, of which some 100 are active contributors. The mailing list has notable minorities of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and Russian speakers. A staff of three unpaid volunteers[5] manages and moderates the list.

Graphical conventions

FOTW Color Palette

FOTW displays standardized flag images in GIF format, usually at a height of 216 pixels. While the file format is limited to 256 colors, the standard calls for a more restricted "FOTW palette" of 32 colors.[7]


The organization's flag is an asymmetric white and blue vertical bicolor, with a circle of five upright stars surrounding an inverted black star centered somewhat above the midpoint of the dividing line. The design, by Mark Sensen, was selected over 10 challengers in a poll of FOTW mailing list members and was adopted March 8, 1996. Since then, March 8 has been regarded as FOTW's Flag day. Sensen described its symbolism:

White on the hoist stands for peace, blue on the fly for progress. The six colours of the stars are the main colours used in flags. The stars help to make one bigger symbol. The way the stars are all connected to each other represents the Internet.[8]

The flag is thus noteworthy as a rare representation of the Internet on a flag.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Members" (PDF). FIAV website. International Federation of Vexillological Associations. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  2. "flags - Flags of the World mailing list". YAhoo! Groups. FOTW. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  3. "FOTW history". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  4. Flags of the World mailing list rules, Part 4, Article 1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "FOTW Editorial Staff". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  6. "FOTW". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  7. FOTW colour guide
  8. "FOTW Official Flag". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2007-10-19.

External links

ang:Worulde Fānan bcl:Flags of the World bs:Flags of the World da:Flags of the World de:Flags of the World et:Flags of the World es:Flags of the World fr:Flags of the World gl:Flags of the World it:Flags of the World he:אתר דגלי העולם lv:Flags of the World pl:Flags of the World pt:Flags of the World sl:Flags of the World szl:Flags of the World sv:Flags of the World th:Flags of the World zh:世界旗帜网