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Flags of the World

For a general list of flags, see Lists of flags.
Flags of the World
[[File:Flag of FOTW.svg#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
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Official flag of FOTW
Abbreviation FOTW
Formation Template:If empty
Type Noncommercial
Purpose Vexillological
Headquarters Nominally Wolfville, Canada[1]
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Official language
Nathan Lamm
Key people
Rob Raeside, Editorial Director
Jan Mertens, Apprentice-Listmaster
Affiliations International Federation of Vexillological Associations
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Mirror list
Formerly called
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Flags of the World (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.[4] 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."[5]

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[6] 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,[7] 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 Due to the high amount of material there is an editing backlog, causing some areas of FOTW to contain outdated information.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[8]
Year Pages Images Images/Page Increase Growth (x times 1996)
1996 674 710 1.05
1997 1100 1400 1.27 81% 1
1998 1900 3600 1.89 120% 3
1999 2400 5000 2.08 35% 4
2000 8200 14900 1.81 212% 17
2001 11400 20700 1.81 39% 23
2002 16600 29400 1.77 43% 33
2003 19000 36000 1.89 20% 40
2004 23000 43000 1.87 20% 48
2005 29000 54000 1.86 26% 60
2006 31000 58000 1.87 7% 64
2007 34000 64000 1.9 10% 71
2008 38000 70000 1.8 10% 78
2009 42000 78000 1.9 11% 87
2010 45000 85000 1.9 8% 94
2011 49000 90000 1.8 7% 100
2012 52000 97000 1.9 7% 108
2013 53000 102000 1.9 4% 112

Mailing list

The source for material on the FOTW website are contributions to the FOTW mailing list,[9] which has 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[6] manages and moderates the list.

Graphical conventions

File:Color guide flags.svg
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 colours, the standard calls for a more restricted "FOTW palette" of 32 colours.[10]


The organization's flag is a design by Mark Sensen, which 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.[11]

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

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "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 2012-12-09. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "FOTW history". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  5. ^ Flags of the World mailing list rules, Part 4, Article 1.
  6. ^ a b "FOTW Editorial Staff". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  7. ^ "FOTW". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  8. ^ Raeside, Rob (July 25, 2013). "History of FOTW". Flags of the World (FOTW). Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ "FOTW mailing list". FOTW. Yahoo. 
  10. ^ FOTW colour guide
  11. ^ "FOTW Official Flag". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 

External links