The Dutch national anthem: “Het Wilhelmus”

Just to prepare you adequately for the final of the world championship, we'll provide you with some background info on the Dutch national anthem :-), or "het volkslied" (the people's song), as we call it. Wilhelmus

The Dutch national anthem is called "Het Wilhelmus", lit.: The William (song). The anthem was first written down in 1574, making it the oldest national anthem in the world (only the lyrics of the Japanese anthem are older..) The Wilhelmus wasn't always our anthem. it was 'promoted' national anthem in 1932.

The song is written actually quite ingeniously. It's a so called acrostic: the first letters of the fifteen (!) verses spell out the name Willem van Nassov (also known as William the Silent). Normally, only the first verse is sung, sometimes followed by the sixth (which was popular during the second World War).

And now…the lyrics of the first verse - including translation:

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
ben ik, van Duitsen bloed,
den vaderland getrouwe
blijf ik tot in den dood.
Een Prinse van Oranje
ben ik, vrij, onverveerd,
den Koning van Hispanje
heb ik altijd geëerd.
William of Nassau
am I, of Dutch blood.
Loyal to the fatherland
I will remain until I die.
A prince of Orange
am I, free and fearless.
The king of Spain
I have always honoured.

Note that "…Duitsen bloed…" originates from "…Dietschen bloed…" see also Extra of DWOTD Reikhalzend.

For more info on "Het Wilhelmus", check out Wikipedia, here [Dutch] and here [English]. Hup Holland Hup!!! 🙂

3 thoughts on “The Dutch national anthem: “Het Wilhelmus”

  1. The king of Spain
    I have always honoured.
    kind of ironical in this final 😉
    greetings from germany, i hope oranje is going to win. but unfortunetaly paul says the spanish guys will win. I HOPE NOT! 🙂

  2. The line about “the king of Spain I have always honored” does seem rather odd, speaking about a guy who was instrumental in starting a war of independence, but its point was two-fold:
    First, to illustrate that William wasn’t a shit-stirrer; he led the rebellion despite his respect for the monarchy because he felt there was no other way to resolve legitimate grievances felt by the Dutch.
    Second, to point out that the Dutch bore their grievances not against the king personally, but against his viceroys who governed the Low Countries, Margaret of Parma and her successor Fernando, 3rd Duke of Alba.

Comments are closed.