The Faroe Islands are a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark. It has its own parliament and own flag.
The special constitutional status of the islands was originally founded on the ancient viking tradition from the 9th century AD (all free men convened at the Althing, later called Løgting, in the capital Tórshavn), and from the latter half of the 12th century on – when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom – they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions, while at the same time adapting constitutionally to the surrounding political contexts of coming and going empires reaching out from the Scandinavian heartlands.
Originally part of Norway
Norway and Denmark joined in a double monarchy in the late 14th century. When Norway in 1814 was cessioned to the King of Sweden, Norway's westernmost territories, among them the Faroe Islands, remained under the sovereignty of the Danish Monarch. Not least due to the large geographical distance to Norway and Denmark, the Faroe Islands always maintained a special jurisdiction along with their distinct language and culture, guarded by the ancient Løgting. Since the split from Norway, the Faroe Islands have accommodated to, but not fully integrated into, the modern state of Denmark.
Constitutionally, Faroese relations to the Danish State were in 1948 defined in the Home Rule legislation. This legislation divides the administrative and legislative areas into two groups joint affairs under Danish State authority, and special Faroese affairs under Faroese Home Rule, administration and legislation.The Faroe Islands have, for example, their own independent area regarding Customs and Excise, Taxation and Administration.
The great degree of Faroese autonomy may be best illustrated by the fact that the Faroe Islands are not members of the EU, nor EFTA (and thereby not of the EEA either).