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Cross flags in Normandy (France)

Last modified: 2016-11-15 by ivan sache
Keywords: mouvement normand |
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Normandy corss flags - Images by Luc Baronian, 11 January 2001, André Coutanche, 11 January 2001, and António Martins & Arnaud Leroy, 1 September 2000, respectively

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Cross flags in Normandy


First Norman cross flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 April 2016

The Norman flag was designed in 1937 by Jean Adigard des Gautries (1889-1974), a noted toponymist and anthroponymist, as a red flag with a yellow, off-centered cross. It was noticed in the 1950s that a similar flag was already used in Scania (Sweden); for the sake of differentiation, the cross was made red with a yellow border, on the model of the flags of Iceland and Norway.
The flag was registered in 1974 with the Association française d'études internationales de vexillologie (active from 1966 to 1975, refounded in 1985 as the Société française de vexillologie). Adopted by the Mouvement Normand, the flag ((photo, photo, photo, photo) got semi-official recognition, often charged in canton with two (photo, photo, photo) or three leopards (photo, Contact Bulletin of The European Bureau for Lesser Used Language, July 2000), to facilitate its identification. Paul German (1915-1993), Mayor of Falaise (1967-1989), the birth town of William the Conqueror, and President of the Region Basse-Normandie (1978-1982), hoisted the flag with two leopards on the Town Hall and the castle (photo, photo). The flag with three leopards was used by the municipality of Coutances.
[G. Barnage. Le drapeau de la Normandie, l'état de la question. Le Patrimoine Normand, No. 79, Winter 2012-2013]

The flag is often called "St. Olaf's Cross", or, even, "St. Olaf". The connection between the flag and St. Olaf (Olaf II Haraldsson, King of Norway from 1016 to 1028), however, is far-fetched: St. Olaf is reported in Icelandic sagas to have been christened in Rouen (Normandy) by Archbishop Robert the Dane, the brother of Duke of Normandy Richard II. The millenary of the event was celebrated from 15 to 19 October 2014 in Rouen; the oratorio "St. Olaf's Baptism Christening" (music by Ole Karsten Sundlisæter, libretto by Dordi Glærum Skuggevik) was first performed on 15 August in the cathedral (programm).

Ivan Sache, André Coutanche, Pascal Vagnat & , 26 April 2016

Mouvement Normand


Flag of Mouvement Normand - Image by Luc Baronian, 11 January 2001

The Mouvement Normand was founded in 1969 by Didier Patte (b. 1941), who presided the movement for the next 46 years. On 2 April 2016, the General Assembly of the movement held in La Maileraye-sur-Seine elected Emmanuel Mauger as the new President.
[Le Courrier Cauchois, 8 April 2016]

Interviewed by L'Esprit Européen (No. 2, 2009, text), Didier Patte explained that the Mouvement Normand is autonomist, regionalist, not nationalist (while recognizing a "native Norman nation" as a founding component of the "Greater [French] Nation"), not independentist (independentism being "petty jacobinism"). The objectives of the movement are:
- the reunification of Normandy [which has been achieved with the merging of Regions Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie into a single Region Normandie];
- the emergence of a true regional power;
- the balanced management of the Norman territory;
- the defence and promotion of the Normand culture and identity.

The Mouvement Normand is indeed a nationalist rightist movement, some say extreme rightist. Its main ideologist is Jean Mabire (1927-2006; obituary), a controversial regionalist writer. Mabire has been criticized for his "historical novels" on the Vikings, and, mostly, on the Second World War and the Waffen-SS. His books on Normandy aim at re-assessing the Viking heritage, which most historians consider as mostly linguistic and toponymic. Mabire and Patte maintained close connections with the Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne (GRECE), a school of political thought, better known as Nouvelle Droite (New Right), which promoted neo-paganism and Indo-European supremacism.

Ivan Sache, 26 April 2016