Indonesia flag vs Monaco flag

indonesia flag vs monaco flag

Going through the list of countries with extremely similar flag colors and configurations, one can come across a seemingly bizarre duo: the flags of Indonesia, the largest country in Southeast Asia, with more than 270 million people as well as 6,000 inhabited islands, and Monaco, a small sovereign city state located on the French Riviera in Europe. Anyway, let’s dig into the flags’ similarities, the differences as well as their historical background.

Similarities and differences

Both flags share a very similar design: two horizontal stripes of equal size, with the one on top being red and the one at the bottom being white. However, a closer look can give away some vital differences which can help one determine which is which: for starters, the shade of red in the Indonesian flag is slightly fainter compared to Monaco’s flag. Furthermore, the dimensions (and more specifically, their ratio) also vary (see Fun Facts section).


Despite the striking similarities in colors and arrangement, the flags of Indonesia and Monaco embody completely different values. Therefore, the red stripe on the Indonesian flag stands for the courage and blood of the nation’s people, while the white one exemplifies purity and the spirits of the people. Nevertheless, Austronesian culture aficionados have also suggested that the flag’s bands may stand for “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky” respectively.

The Monegasque flag’s colors, on the other hand, are attributed to those of the House of Grimaldi, a family which has been ruling the the small nation for centuries. They allegedly symbolize the flesh of the human body (red) and purity in spiritual life (white).

Who copied who?

As it can probably be deduced from the aforementioned, the similarities between the Indonesian and the Monegasque flags are entirely coincidental. For example, the flag of Indonesia was officially adopted in August 1945, a few days after World War II ended, as the Indonesians were contending for their independence from the Netherlands, which was finally made possible in 1949 (see below). As for the flag of Monaco, it was officially adopted much earlier, in April 1881 –and that’s without taking into account that its colors and a similar to the current flag configuration had been in use since the 13th century.

Fun facts

  • The flag of Indonesia has a width-to-length ratio of 2 to 3. In comparison, the Monegasque flag features a ratio of 4 to 5, which can aid the keen-sighted in telling them apart.
  • A very interesting way of referring to the flag of Indonesia is “Sang Saka Merah Putih” (which translates as “the Red and White”). It is based on the colors featured in the flag of the Majapahit empire, which existed between the 14th and 16th centuries.
  • In September 1945, during the Indonesian War of Independence, some daring pro-nationalist Indonesian revolutionaries climbed on the roof of Yamato Hotel (now Majapahit Hotel) in Surabaya, where the colonial Dutch flag (a tricolor design with three horizontal bands of red, white and blue) was flying. After tearing off the flag’s blue stripe, they proudly hoisted it as the red/white Indonesian flag!
  • The Monegasque flag dates back to the country’s establishment, with the arrival of the Grimaldis in late 13th century. It bore a close resemblance to the current flag, while also incorporating the old form of the nation’s coat of arms. Therefore, in one form or another, the flag would go on to hoist until its official adoption in 1881 and, by extension, to this day, apart from a brief period lasting from 1793 through 1814, when the French Tricolore was the country’s formal flag.
  • On account of the conspicuous similarities of their flags, it comes as no surprise that conflicts have arisen between the two nations in the past. Following Indonesia unveiling its new flag during the time the nation was trying to assert its independence, Monaco refused to recognize the country’s new emblem. In fact, the Monegasque authorities went as far as to request that Indonesia opt for a different color combination. For their part, Indonesians vehemently opposed to the demand, on the basis that the choice of colors was deeply associated with the nation’s history. As a matter of fact, the issue was never resolved, but that didn’t prevent Indonesia from adopting this particular flag design anyway!

What Should I Read Next? Countries with red and white flags