National Anthem Of Netherlands

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"Wilhelmus van Nassouwe", usually known just as the "Wilhelmus" (Dutch: Het Wilhelmus; pronounced [ɦɛt ʋɪlˈɦɛlmɵs] (About this soundlisten); English translation: "The William"), is the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the national anthem with the oldest music. Although the "Wilhelmus" was not recognized as the official national anthem until 1932, it has always been popular with parts of the Dutch population and resurfaced on several occasions in the course of Dutch history before gaining its present status. It was also the anthem of the Netherlands Antilles from 1954 to 1964.

The "Wilhelmus" originated in the Dutch Revolt, the nation's struggle to achieve independence from the Spanish Empire. It tells of the Father of the Nation William of Orange who was stadholder in the Netherlands under the King of Spain. In the first person, as if quoting himself, William speaks to the Dutch people about both the revolt and his own, personal struggle: to be faithful to the king without being unfaithful to his conscience: to serve God and the Dutch people. In the lyrics William compares himself with the biblical David who serves under the tyrannic king Saul. As the merciful David defeats the unjust Saul and is rewarded by God with the kingdom of Israel, so too William hopes to be rewarded a kingdom. Wilhelmus was in fact Roman Catholic.

The melody of the "Wilhelmus" was borrowed from a well known Roman Catholic French song titled "Autre chanson de la ville de Chartres assiégée par le prince de Condé" or in short: "Chartres'". This song ridiculed the failed Siege of Chartres in 1568 by the Huguenot (Protestant) Prince de Condé during the French Wars of Religion. However, the triumphant contents of the "Wilhelmus" is the opposite of the content of the original song, making it subversive at several levels. Thus, the Dutch Protestants had taken over an anti-Protestant song, and adapted it into propaganda for their own agenda. In that way, the "Wilhelmus" was typical for its time, since It was common practice in the 16th century for warring groups to steal each other's songs in order to rewrite them.

Even though the melody stems from 1568, the first known written down version of it comes from 1574, in the time the anthem was sung in a much quicker pace. Dutch composer Adriaen Valerius recorded the current melody of the "Wilhelmus" in his Nederlantsche Gedenck-clanck in 1626, slowing down the melody's pace, probably to allow it to be sung in churches. The current official version is the 1932 arrangement by Walther Boer.

The origins of the lyrics are uncertain. The "Wilhelmus" was first written some time between the start of the Eighty Years' War in April 1568 and the Capture of Brielle on 1 April 1572, making it at least 446–447 years old. Soon after the anthem was finished it was said that either Philips of Marnix, a writer, statesman and former mayor of Antwerp, or Dirck Coornhert, a politician and theologian, wrote the lyrics. However, this is disputed as neither Marnix nor Coornhert ever mentioned that they wrote the lyrics, even though the song was immensely popular in their time. The "Wilhelmus" also has some odd rhymes in it. In some cases the vowels of certain words were altered to allow them to rhyme with other words. Some see this as evidence that neither Marnix or Coornhert wrote the anthem, as they were both experienced poets when the "Wilhelmus" was written, and it is said they would not have taken these small liberties. Hence some believe that the lyrics of the Dutch national anthem were the creation of someone who just wrote one poem for the occasion and then disappeared from history. A French translation of the "Wilhelmus" appeared around 1582.
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Updated
October 28, 2019
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47M
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Current Version
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Requires Android
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Mehdi Raeisi
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