Some flags look alike or have the same theme. For example red flags with white horses! Animal themed flags are popular, but why did some countries or regions choose a horse?
The flag of Twente
Twente is a region in the Dutch province of Overijssel and is most likely named after the Germanic tribe of the Tubantes. One of their regional newspapers is also called Tubantia. The region has about 600,000 inhabitants and the biggest and most important city is Enschede. With about 160.000 people living within city limits it’s the 14th biggest city of The Netherlands. Twente is a proud region with a lot of typical traditions. The people of Twente call themselves Tukkers.
The flag was designed by Jacobus van Deinse, who also wrote the anthem of Twente. The white horse is a Saxon Horse, a white steed which was seen as a noble animal by the Saxons. Some say the white horse is an adaption to Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin in Norse mythology. The local football club of FC Twente from the city of Enschede, features the horse in their logo.
The flag of Kent
Kent is a county in South East England. It is the fifth most populous county in England and the most populous non-Metropolitan county. Kent has always been a very important county, since England relied on the county’s ports to provide warships through much of its history. Because of its orchards and allotments, Kent is also known as “The Garden of England”.
The flag features the ‘White Horse of Kent’, which is the old symbol for the Jutish Kingdom of Kent, dating from the 6th–8th century. The Jutes were one of the Germanic tribes who settled in Great Britain and were one of the three most powerful Germanic nations, along with the Angles and the Saxons. Just like with the horse of the flag of Twente, the depiction of the white horse has it’s origin in Norse mythology.
The flag of the Electorate of Hanover
The Electorate of Hanover was an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire. The electorate existed from 1692 to 1814. In 1807 the electorate became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia. A short-lived kingdom which was succeeded by the Kingdom of Hannover to finally become a province of the Prussian State. Nowadays the electorate is part of the state of Lower Saxony, which is one of the states of the country of Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, and fourth-largest in population (7.9 million) among the 16 Länder federated as the Federal Republic of Germany.
The white horse on the flag is an adaption to the Saxon Horse. Just like the white horses on the flags of Twente and Kent, the white horse finds it’s origin in Norse mythology.
The flag of the state of Lithuania
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. With a population of close to 3 million people it is the largest nation of the Baltic States. Nowadays the 24th largest country of Europe, but in the 15th century Lithuania was the largest country of Europe. With an area of 930,000 km2 (360,000 sq mi) it used to be almost 15 times larger than it’s current area of 65,300 km2 (25,200 sq mi).
The current flag of Lithuania is a horizontal tricolour of yellow, green, and red. Next to the tricolour national flag, Lithuania also has a state flag. The state flag depicts a mounted knight in pursuit. This flag, known as the Vytis, is the Lithuanian war flag, and also since 2004 the state flag. It is one of the few depictions of a white horse on a flag which is not an adaption of the Saxon horse.