In a previous posting, “Vexillology equals Fun With Flags”  ( ) the term vexillology was defined as the scholarly study of flags, and the blog introduced the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) as the specialized organization of flag scholars in the U.S. and Canada.  While most of NAVA’s five hundred members reside in either the United States or Canada, NAVA has at least one member on each of the earth’s inhabited continents with only Antarctica failing to have an association member in residence.

Anyone surprised to learn there really is such an association as NAVA may be even more amazed to learn that there are more than fifty similar associations around the world, and additionally there is an international organization comprised of these associations.  The International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) has 55 regional, national and multinational flag associations as member organizations encircling the world.


The Flag of the International Federation of Vexillology features a knot used to secure a flag to a flagpole’s halyard.

Individual members from each of the 55 associations are invited to attend international flag congresses of vexillology which are held every other year in host cities located all around the world in such diverse places as Buenos Aires, Berlin, Sidney, Yokohama and Washington, D.C .  Two years ago, FIAV held the Washington 24th International Flag Congress (ICV) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial Building in Alexandria, Virginia.  This year the Dutch city of Rotterdam has hosted the ICV 25 drawing vexillologists from all over the globe.

Flag of ICV 25 held recently in Rotterdam.

The Flag of the 25th International Congress of Vexillology recently held in the Netherlands.

What do vexillologists do at an International Flag Congress?  Amid a week jam packed with activities and tours, these flag scholars hear papers delivered by about forty flag scholars reporting on their individual research.  Yet, amid all the tours and presentations, perhaps the most rewarding benefit of attendance is meeting and socializing with other vexillologists.  It is at gatherings such as these that they can converse with others who share their passion for flags.  Vexillologists are, after all, a rare breed, and when they meet one another they take full advantage of the experience.  If you share a vexillologist’s passion for flags, you may want to join NAVA and join in the flag waving.  ICV 25 is past, but NAVA is holding its 47th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City from the 11th to the 13th of October ( ).

ICV 25 flag bearers

Vexillologists attending the Netherlands Flag Congress had good reason to wave flags.

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