Today's Paper Digital FAQ Obits Newsletters NWA Vaccine Information Covid Classroom Coronavirus NWA Screening Sites Virus Interactive Map Coronavirus FAQ Coronavirus newsletter signup Crime Razorback Sports Today's Photos Puzzles

After Norwegian flag confused for Confederate flag, couple try pennant instead

by The Associated Press | August 5, 2020 at 3:24 p.m.
Eivind Sukkestad waves the flag of Norway in Half Moon Bay, Calif., during the second stage of the Tour of California race in this Feb. 16, 2009, file photo.

ST. JOHNS, Mich. — A couple who came under attack for displaying the Norwegian flag outside their mid-Michigan inn because some observers mistook it for a Confederate flag have found another way to show their Scandinavian pride.

Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker, who own The Nordic Pineapple in St. Johns, outside Lansing, took Norway’s flag down last month after being accused of promoting racism, the Lansing State Journal reported.

They are replacing it with a vimple, a type of long, pennant-shaped flag that can be seen displaying various designs across Scandinavia. The Offenbecker’s vimple will have the colors of the Norwegian flag — a red background with a blue cross superimposed on a white cross — in a nod to Kjersten Offenbecker’s grandfather who was born in Norway.

The colors of the Norwegian flag are similar to the Confederate flag, but the patterns and symbols are different. The Confederate flag is red with a blue “X” containing white stars.

Photo by Matthew Dae Smith / Lansing State Journal via AP
Kjersten and Greg Offenecker, the owners of a Civil War-era mansion turned bed and breakfast in St. Johns, Mich., pose in this July 2020 file photo. The flags in the background are the Norwegian and American flags. The Offeneckers removed the Norwegian flag outside of their business after being accused of promoting racism from people who thought that it was a Confederate flag. The Norwegian flag -- red with a blue cross superimposed on a white cross -- is a nod to Kjersten Offenbecker’s grandfather, who was born in Norway.

After they removed the Norwegian flag last month, people around the globe contacted them and urged them to put it back up, Kjersten Offenbecker said. Many suggested different ways to display the flag. Someone in Norway suggested a vimple, which isn’t an official national flag.

Offenbecker said they are often displayed as an alternative to Norway’s flag, which traditionally is only displayed during certain times of the day.

“Apparently, when you drive through the countryside, this is what you see,” she said.

“When you look at it, it has the feel of the Norwegian flag,” she added. “I’m sure we’ll get a lot of questions about what it is but no one will ever make a judgment about it that’s incorrect.”


Sponsor Content