EU Barcode: A Concept Flag for the European Union

After the 2001 Treaty of Nice established Brussels as capital of the European Union, European Commission president Romano Prodi and Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt commenced a series of discussions on the architectural and functional needs of the capital city.

Dutch architect Rem Koolhas’ firm, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) was invited to participate, and recommended strengthening the union’s visual language with EU Barcode, a concept flag that merged the flags of member states, and could be expanded as new states joined.

Koolhas explained the concept behind the flag’s design to The New York Times in 2002:

Lining up all the individual flags, starting with Ireland in the west and ending with Greece in the east, we simply started synthesizing them into this larger entity. It means that each nation has its own abstraction of its flag as a component of the bar code flag. As the community is extended, the flag will just become richer.


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