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How to create flag emojis for countries in Python

Flags for countries with 2-character codes

There’s a pycountry package that provides a Python API for the ISO databases for country information. You can get the flags from its API, for example:

>>> import pycountry
>>> germany = pycountry.countries.get(alpha_2='DE')
>>> germany.flag

Alternatively, flag emojis are constructed from a pair of “regional indicator symbol letters”, e.g. the Armenian country code is AM, so the flag emoji is 🇦🇲 = 🇦​🇲. You can then construct your flags like so:

def get_flag_emoji(country_id: str) -> str:
    code_point_start = ord("🇦") - ord("A")
    assert code_point_start == 127397

    code_points = [code_point_start + ord(char) for char in country_id]
    return "".join(chr(cp) for cp in code_points)

This is based on JavaScript code written by Jorik Tangelder, but adapted for Python and an explanation of the 127397 magic number.

Flags for subdivisions of countries (e.g. Scotland, Wales)

Some countries are subdivisions of other countries, and some of those subdivisions have flags.

pycountry doesn’t have flags for subdivisions, e.g.

>>> scotland = pycountry.subdivisions.get(code='GB-SCT')
>>> scotland.flag
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/private/var/folders/_c/h0g4c9_n6rg8d2v509hztzdc0000gn/T/tmp.YhlCEzkg/.venv/lib/python3.12/site-packages/pycountry/", line 17, in __getattr__
    raise AttributeError()

And these flags aren’t constructed from two-character regional codes. e.g. the Scottish flag combines black flag, five regional indicator symbols, and a closing symbol: 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 = 🏴​ 🇬​🇧​🇸​🇨​🇹 ​U+E007F

The best approach I’ve found is to hard-code exceptions for these where necessary:

def get_flag_emoji(country_id: str) -> str:
    if country_id == "GB-SCT":
        return "🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿"

    if country_id == "GB-WLS":
        return "🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿"


Note that Emojipedia’s page about flags suggests this may be a relatively uncommon case, and just a few edge cases may be enough to handle it:

Emoji country flags are based on ISO 3166-1: a list of internationally recognized two-letter country codes. As of 2021 England, Scotland and Wales are the only RGI subdivision flags.