Dutch National Songs

After the Netherlands beat Spain in their first game of the World Cup, Dan heard a lot of strange songs in the pub early Saturday morning…

‘Five-One! It’s five-fucking-ooooone!’ The pub erupts with fevered jumping, hugs, high-fives (!), love bites, and fervid frolicking of pant-wetting excitement. You take a sip, drinking in the thrilling atmosphere of being in Groningen at this momentous time.

Then, just as your pint glass touches the table, everyone around you thrusts their hands over their hearts, and bursts into a deep, homophonic chorus of an apparently well-rehearsed verse: it’s like being back in the Valleys. What the fervent is going on?

The Dutch are singing their national anthem. ‘I thought the piece they sang on Koningsdag was their national anthem?’ you ask. Thankfully it’s not.

The Dutch have a rousing national anthem, and if you’re going to attend these national and provincial events, you’ll need to know it, or else prepare to look like a stuntelende dwaas when you finally succumb to the pressure to sing and stand there furiously mouthing along, jumping occasionally to cover the fact you have no clue.

The first you’ll need to learn is the Dutch National Anthem: ‘Wilhelmus’. Coincidentally, the anthem depicts the life of Willem van Oranje and his struggle against Phillip II of Spain, and is sung in the first person, hence the extreme sense of superiority, self-entitlement, and superciliousness many feel after singing it: ‘the result of small country syndrome’ as one clubber said. ‘Wilhelmus‘ is short and simple, and relatively easy to learn for weak-throated Internationals…the first stanza, anyway.

The one you may have been thinking of before is ‘Koningslied’. This anthem is new, as it was composed to celebrate the first King’s Day in one hundred and twenty-three years in 2014, and is, by far and away, THE WORST anthem of all time. And I’m not just doing what my bosses like by including a provocative statement; I mean to say that I would rather have a toilet thrown on me than have even king Willem himself sing the song to me.

It starts off like something out of Frozen, with a couple of twelve-year-olds stating the obvious ‘every man has a task in life’ before developing into something truly awful to the ear, and by the end you would’ve thought Willem had died it’s so depressing… and then there’s the rap. Rap with a silent ‘c’? More like rap with a silent ‘absolute dogshite’. They need some tips from the master himself.

Another, more local, anthem is the ‘Het Gras Van Het Noorderplantsoen’ by Ralf Poelman, which essentially describes how shit France and Cameroon are (no idea why the lyricist chose these two countries (and why he chose countries to compare to a park)) in comparison to the beautiful, grassy Noorderplantsoen.

So fill your lungs, and get ready to belt out some ‘Wilhelmus’ in support of the Dutch team; and give it some Willy!