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Het Wilhelmus
English: The William
Print bladmuziek.jpg
Sheet music of Het Wilhelmus
National anthem of  Netherlands
Lyrics Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Music Adrianus Valerius
Adopted 1932
Music sample
Het Wilhelmus (instrumental & vocal)

Het Wilhelmus (About this sound pronunciation ) (English translation: The William) is the national anthem of the Netherlands and is the oldest national anthem in the world[1] though the words of the Japanese national anthem (not the music) date back to the ninth century.[2] Although it 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.

Like many anthems, Het Wilhelmus originated in the nation's struggle to achieve independence. It tells of Willem van Oranje (William of Orange), his life and why he is fighting against the King of Spain.[3] As a result, the anthem is written in a first person perspective, as if it were sung by William himself. William of Orange is the I-figure (old Dutch "ick") in the sentence in the 1st stanza "Den Coninck van Hispaengien heb ick altijt gheeert" in the 1st stanza ("To the King of Spain I always paid my respect").

This refers to the initial loyalty of the leading figures of the Dutch Revolt, the Counts of De Montmorency ("Hoorne") and Lamoral ("Egmond") who both were executed, and the then surviving Prince of Orange (William), to the Spanish king Philip II and their claim that they merely objected against some hardships of the Spanish rule over The Netherlands. These objections were especially concerning the taxation and the religious prosecutions.

The text and tune of the song are remarkably peaceful for a national anthem. The Wilhelmus derives its name from the first word of the song; the Geuzenliedboek's original introduction to the text speaks of "a new Christian song" ("een nieu Christelijck Liedt").


Oldest national anthem

There is some international confusion concerning the oldest anthem in the world. The Japanese anthem, Kimi ga yo, has the oldest (9th century) lyrics, but a melody was added in the late 19th century making it a poem rather than an anthem for most of its lifespan. Although the Wilhelmus was not officially recognised as the Dutch national anthem until 1932 (compare this to the British national anthem "God Save the Queen", which has never been officially recognised as the national anthem[4]) it is the oldest in the world.[5] The anthem was first written down in 1574[6] making it over 435 years old.


William the Silent (William I) leader and icon of the Dutch revolt

Though only proclaimed the national anthem in 1932, the Wilhelmus already had a centuries-old prior history. It had been sung on many official occasions and at many important events since 1568, such as the siege of Haarlem in 1573 and the ceremonial entry of the Prince of Orange into Brussels on 18 September 1578.

During the Dutch Golden Age, it was conceived essentially as the anthem of the House of Orange-Nassau and its supporters - which meant, in the politics of the time, the anthem of a specific political faction which was involved in a prolonged struggle with opposing factions (which sometimes became violent, verging on civil war). Therefore, the fortunes of the song paralleled those of the Orangist faction.

Trumpets played the Wilhelmus when Prince Maurits visited Breda, and again when he was received in state in Amsterdam in May 1618. When William V arrived in Schoonhoven in 1787, after the authority of the stadholders had been restored, the church bells are said to have played the Wilhelmus continuously.

After the Batavian Revolution, inspired by the French revolution, it had come to be called the "Princes' March" as it was banned during the rule of the Patriot party, which did not support the House of Orange-Nassau.

However, at the foundation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813, the Wilhelmus had fallen out of favour. Having become monarchs with a claim to represent the entire nation and stand above factions, the House of Orange decided to break with the song which served them as heads of a faction, and the Wilhelmus was hence replaced by Hendrik Tollens' song Wien Neêrlands bloed door d'aderen vloeit, which was the official Dutch anthem from 1815 till 1932.

However, the Wilhelmus remained popular and lost its identification as a factional song, and on 10 May 1932, it was decreed that on all official occasions requiring the performance of the national anthem, the Wilhelmus was to be played - thereby replacing Tollens' song.


Origins of the melody

The tune of the Wilhelmus is based on a French soldiers' song: "Autre chanson de la ville de Chartres assiégée par le prince de Condé" (English: "Another song about the city of Chartres under siege by the Prince de Condé"), which was popular around 1569 during the siege of Chartres.

Ironically, during this siege (which took place at the time of the French Wars of Religion, essentially a civil war between France's Protestant and Catholic inhabitants) the Protestant besiegers of the pro-Catholic city of Chartres had to break up their siege.

However during the siege, the song had been quite popular with the Catholics of Chartres, and the Protestants started to sing the song as well and spread it to the Low Countries. Therefore the melody of Het Wilhelmus is older than the lyrics. The melody was further developed by a famous Dutch composer Adriaen Valerius (approx. 1575-1625) who made the melody's pace much slower, most likely to allow it to be sung in churches. The current official version is the arrangement by Walther Boer, dating from 1932.

Origins of the lyrics

The origins of the lyrics are less clear than those of the anthem's melody; till this day no one knows who exactly wrote the Dutch anthem. Soon after the anthem was finished it was said that either Philips van Marnix, a writer and statesman, former mayor of the city of Antwerp, or Dirck Coornhert, a politician and theologian, wrote the anthem. However, this is disputed as both Marnix and Coornhert never mentioned they created the lyrics, which is strange given the fact that the song was immensely popular in their times. 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 at the time that the Wilhelmus was written and they would not take these small liberties. Hence some believe 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.[7]


Het Wilhelmus is played only once at a ceremony or whatever other event and, if possible, it is to be the last piece of music to be played. When receiving a foreign head of state or emissary, the Dutch anthem is not allowed to be played if there is no member of the Dutch Royal House present, this is virtually unique in the world as most countries play their own anthem and then play the anthem of the foreign relation.[8]

During international sport events, such as the World Cup, UEFA Euro, and the Olympics the Wilhelmus is also played. In nearly every case the 1st and 6th stanza, or the 1st stanza alone, are sung/played rather than the entire song, which would result in about 15 minutes of music.[9] Ironically, when the 1st stanza is sung alone, the rendition ends with the words "To the King of Spain I have granted a lifelong loyalty" -- words which arguably leave an impression diametrically opposed to the actual purpose of the anthem.


It has been claimed that during the gruesome torture of Balthasar Gérard (the assassin of William of Orange) in 1584, the song was sung by the guards who sought to overpower Gérards screams when boiling pigs' fat was poured over him. Gérard allegedly responded "Sing! Dutch sinners! Sing! But know that soon I shall be sung of!".[10]

Another legend claims that following the Navigation Acts (an ordinance by Oliver Cromwell requiring all foreign fleets in the North Sea or the Channel to dip their flag in salute) Het Wilhelmus was sung (or rather, shouted) by the sailors on the Dutch flagship Brederode in responds to the first warning shot fired by an English fleet under Robert Blake, when their captain Maarten Tromp refused to lower his flag. At the end of the song, which coincided with the third (i.e last) English warning shot, Tromp fired a full broadside thereby beginning the Battle of Goodwin Sands and the First Anglo-Dutch War.[10]

Structure and melody

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The complete text comprises fifteen stanzas. The anthem is an acrostic: the first letters of the fifteen stanzas formed the name 'Willem van Nassov' (Nassov was a contemporary orthographic variant of Nassau). In the current Dutch spelling the first words of the twelfth and thirteenth stanzas begin with Z instead of S.

The text is also thematically symmetrical, in that verses one and 15 resemble one another in meaning, as do verses two and 14, three and 13, etc., until they converge in the eighth verse, the heart of the song: "Oh David, thou soughtest shelter/From King Saul's tyranny".


There are two major variations on the Wilhelmus, namely the royal anthem of Luxembourg (called "De Wilhelmus") and the song "Das Treuelied", German for "the song of loyalty". The Royal Anthem of Luxembourg, in official use since 1919, has a shared origin with the Dutch anthem. The melody was first used in Luxembourg (at the time in personal union with the Kingdom of the United Netherlands) on the occasion of the visit of the Dutch King and Grand Duke of Luxembourg William III in 1883. Later, the anthem was played for Grand Duke Adolph of Luxembourg along with the national anthem. The melody is very similar, but not identical to that of Het Wilhelmus. The second major variation is the song "Wenn alle untreu werden" (German: "If everyone becomes unfaithful") better known as "Das Treuelied", which was written by the poet Max von Schenkendorf (1783-1817) and used the exact same melody as Het Wilhelmus. After the First World War this became extremely popular among nationalistic German groups, especially the Nazis. It became one of the most popular songs of the SS, together with the Horst Wessel song.[11]


Introductionary text

Het Wilhelmus was first printed in a "geuzenliedboek" (lit.: "song book of the Gueux") in 1581. It used the following text as an introduction to the Wilhelmus:

Een nieuw Christelick Liedt gemaect ter eeren des Doorluchtichsten Heeren, Heere Wilhelm Prince van Oraengien, Grave van Nassou, Patris Patriae, mijnen Genaedigen Forsten ende Heeren. Waer van deerste Capitael letteren van elck veers syner Genaedigen Forstens name metbrengen. Na de wijse van Chartres.

A new Christian song made in the honour of the most noble lord, lord William Prince of Orange, count of Nassau, Patris Patriae (Father of the Fatherland), my merciful prince and lord. [A song] of which the first capital letter of each stanza form the name of his merciful prince. To the melody of Chartres.


Original Dutch lyrics (1568) Contemporary Dutch lyrics English lyrics meant to fit the melody, the rhyme and the acrostic English translation of the original Dutch version. (non-melodious)
First stanza

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ick van Duytschen bloet,
Den Vaderlant getrouwe
Blyf ick tot in den doot:
Een Prince van Oraengien
Ben ick vrij onverveert,
Den Coninck van Hispaengien
Heb ick altijt gheeert.

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, scion
Of an old German line,
I dedicate undying
Faith to this land of mine.
A prince Of Orange,
I am, undaunted ever free,
To the king of Spain I've granted
A lifelong loyalty.

William of Nassau 
am I, of German[12] 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.

Second stanza

In Godes vrees te leven
Heb ick altyt betracht,
Daerom ben ick verdreven
Om Landt om Luyd ghebracht:
Maer God sal mij regeren
Als een goet Instrument,
Dat ick zal wederkeeren
In mijnen Regiment.

In Godes vrees te leven
heb ik altijd betracht,
daarom ben ik verdreven,
om land, om luid gebracht.
Maar God zal mij regeren
als een goed instrument,
dat ik zal wederkeren
in mijnen regiment.

I've ever tried to live in
The fear of God's command
And therefore I've been driven,
From people, home, and land,
But God, I trust, will rate me
His willing instrument
And one day reinstate me
Into my government.

To live in fear of God 
I have always attempted.
Because of this I was ousted 
bereft of my land and my people.
But God will direct me 
like a good instrument.
So that I may return 
to my domain.

Third stanza

Lydt u myn Ondersaten
Die oprecht zyn van aert,
Godt sal u niet verlaten
Al zijt ghy nu beswaert:
Die vroom begheert te leven
Bidt Godt nacht ende dach,
Dat hy my cracht wil gheven
Dat ick u helpen mach.

Lijdt u, mijn onderzaten
die oprecht zijt van aard,
God zal u niet verlaten,
al zijt gij nu bezwaard.
Die vroom begeert te leven,
bidt God nacht ende dag,
dat Hij mij kracht zal geven,
dat ik u helpen mag.

Let no despair betray you,
My subjects true and good.
The Lord will surely stay you
Though now you are pursued.
He who would live devoutly
Must pray God day and night
To throw His power about me
As champion of your right.

Hold on my subjects, 
who are honest by nature.
God will not abandon you 
even though you now are in despair.
He who tries to live piously, 
must pray to God day and night,
that He will give me strength 
that I may help you.

Fourth stanza

Lyf en goet al te samen
Heb ick u niet verschoont,
Mijn broeders hooch van Namen
Hebbent u oock vertoont:
Graef Adolff is ghebleven
In Vriesland in den slaech,
Syn Siel int ewich Leven
Verwacht den Jongsten dach.

Lijf en goed al te samen
heb ik u niet verschoond,
mijn broeders hoog van namen
hebben 't u ook vertoond:
Graaf Adolf is gebleven
in Friesland in de slag,
zijn ziel in 't eeuwig leven
verwacht de jongste dag.

Life and my all for others
I sacrificed, for you!
And my illustrious brothers
Proved their devotion too.
Count Adolf, more's the pity,
Fell in the Frisian fray,
And in the eternal city
Awaits the judgement day.

My life and fortune altogether
I have not spared you.
My brothers high in rank
have shown you this as well:
Count Adolf died 
in battle in Frisia
His soul in eternal life 
awaits the final judgement.

Fifth stanza

Edel en Hooch gheboren
Van Keyserlicken Stam:
Een Vorst des Rijcks vercoren
Als een vroom Christen man,
Voor Godes Woort ghepreesen
Heb ick vrij onversaecht,
Als een Helt sonder vreesen
Mijn edel bloet ghewaecht.

Edel en hooggeboren,
van keizerlijke stam,
een vorst des rijks verkoren,
als een vroom christenman,
voor Godes woord geprezen,
heb ik, vrij onversaagd,
als een held zonder vreze
mijn edel bloed gewaagd.

I, nobly born, descended
From an imperial stock.
An empire's prince, defended
(Braving the battle's shock
Heroically and fearless
As pious Christian ought)
With my life's blood the peerless
Gospel of God our Lord.

Noble and high-born,
of imperial descent,
Chosen a prince of the empire,
Like a pious Christian, 
for the honoured word of God,
I have without hesitation
like a fearless hero, 
ventured my own noble blood.

Sixth stanza

Mijn Schilt ende betrouwen
Sijt ghy, o Godt mijn Heer,
Op u soo wil ick bouwen
Verlaet mij nimmermeer:
Dat ick doch vroom mach blijven
V dienaer taller stondt,
Die Tyranny verdrijven,
Die my mijn hert doorwondt.

Mijn schild ende betrouwen
zijt Gij, o God mijn Heer,
op U zo wil ik bouwen,
Verlaat mij nimmermeer.
Dat ik doch vroom mag blijven,
uw dienaar t'aller stond,
de tirannie verdrijven
die mij mijn hart doorwondt.

A shield and my reliance,
O God, Thou ever wert.
I'll trust unto Thy guidance.
O leave me not ungirt.
That I may stay a pious
Servant of Thine for aye
And drive the plagues that try us
And tyranny away.

My shield and reliance 
are you, o God my Lord.
It is you on whom I want to rely, 
never leave me again.
[Grant] that I may remain brave, 
your servant for always,
and [may] defeat the tyranny
which pierces my heart

Seventh stanza

Van al die my beswaren,
End mijn Vervolghers zijn,
Mijn Godt wilt doch bewaren
Den trouwen dienaer dijn:
Dat sy my niet verrasschen
In haren boosen moet,
Haer handen niet en wasschen
In mijn onschuldich bloet.

Van al die mij bezwaren
en mijn vervolgers zijn,
mijn God, wil doch bewaren
de trouwe dienaar dijn,
dat zij mij niet verrassen
in hunne boze moed,
hun handen niet en wassen
in mijn onschuldig bloed.

My God, I pray thee, save me
From all who do pursue
And threaten to enslave me,
Thy trusted servant true.
O Father, do not sanction
Their wicked, foul design,
Don't let them wash their hands in
This guiltless blood of mine.

From all those that burden me 
and are my pursuers,
my God, do save 
your loyal servant.
That they may not surprise me 
with their wicked plans
nor wash their hands 
in my innocent blood.

Eighth stanza

Als David moeste vluchten
Voor Saul den Tyran:
Soo heb ick moeten suchten
Met menich Edelman:
Maer Godt heeft hem verheven
Verlost uit alder noot,
Een Coninckrijk ghegheven
In Israel seer groot.

Als David moeste vluchten
voor Sauel de tiran,
zo heb ik moeten zuchten
als menig edelman.
Maar God heeft hem verheven,
verlost uit alle nood,
een koninkrijk gegeven
in Israël zeer groot.

O David, thou soughtest shelter
From King Saul's tyranny.
Even so I fled this welter
And many a lord with me.
But God the Lord did save him
From exile and its hell
And, in His mercy, gave him
A realm in Israel.

Like David, who was forced to flee 
from Saul, the tyrant.
I had to sigh,  
as did many other nobles.
But God raised him, 
relieving him of despair,
and gave him a kingdom 
very great in Israel.

Ninth stanza

Na tsuer sal ick ontfanghen
Van Godt mijn Heer dat soet,
Daer na so doet verlanghen
Mijn Vorstelick ghemoet:
Dat is dat ick mach sterven
Met eeren in dat Velt,
Een eewich Rijck verwerven
Als een ghetrouwe Helt.

Na 't zuur zal ik ontvangen
van God mijn Heer het zoet,
daarnaar zo doet verlangen
mijn vorstelijk gemoed:
dat is, dat ik mag sterven
met ere in dat veld,
een eeuwig rijk verwerven
als een getrouwe held.

Fear not 't will rain sans ceasing
The clouds are bound to part.
I bide that sight so pleasing
Unto my princely heart,
Which is that I with honor
Encounter death in war,
And meet in heaven my Donor,
His faithful warrior.

After this sourness I will receive 
from God my Lord the sweetness 
For that longs so much
my noble mind 
which is that I may die 
with honour in the fields,
and gain an eternal realm 
as a faithful hero.

Tenth stanza

Niet doet my meer erbarmen
In mijnen wederspoet,
Dan dat men siet verarmen
Des Conincks Landen goet,
Dat van de Spaengiaerts crencken
O Edel Neerlandt soet,
Als ick daer aen ghedencke
Mijn Edel hert dat bloet.

Niets doet mij meer erbarmen
in mijne wederspoed
dan dat men ziet verarmen
des Konings landen goed.
Dat u de Spanjaards krenken,
o edel Neerland zoet,
als ik daaraan gedenke,
mijn edel hart dat bloedt.

Nothing so moves my pity
As seeing through these lands,
Field, village, town and city
Pillaged by roving hands.
O that the Spaniards rape thee,
My Netherlands so sweet,
The thought of that does grip me
Causing my heart to bleed.

Nothing makes me pity so much 
in my adversity,
then that are seen to be impoverishing
the good lands of the King 
That you are molested by the Spaniards, 
O Noble Netherlands sweet,
when I think of that, 
my noble heart bleeds.

Eleventh stanza

Als een Prins op gheseten
Met mijner Heyres cracht,
Van den Tyran vermeten
Heb ick den Slach verwacht,
Die by Maestricht begraven
Bevreesden mijn ghewelt,
Mijn ruyters sach men draven.
Seer moedich door dat Velt.

Als een prins opgezeten
met mijner heireskracht,
van de tiran vermeten
heb ik de slag verwacht,
die, bij Maastricht begraven,
bevreesden mijn geweld;
mijn ruiters zag men draven
zeer moedig door dat veld.

Astride on steed of mettle
I've waited with my host
The tyrant's call to battle,
Who durst not do his boast.
For, near Maastricht ensconced,
He feared the force I wield.
My horsemen saw one bounce it
Bravely across the field.

Seated [on horseback] like a prince, 
with my armed forces,
Defied by the tyrant, 
I awaited the battle.
Those dug in at Maastricht 
were afraid of my might
People saw my horsemen ride 
bravely through the fields.

Twelfth stanza

Soo het den wille des Heeren
Op die tyt had gheweest,
Had ick gheern willen keeren
Van v dit swear tempeest:
Maer de Heer van hier boven
Die alle dinck regeert.
Diemen altijd moet loven
En heeftet niet begheert.

Zo het de wil des Heren
op die tijd was geweest,
had ik geern willen keren
van u dit zwaar tempeest.
Maar de Heer van hierboven,
die alle ding regeert,
die men altijd moet loven,
Hij heeft het niet begeerd.

Surely, if God had willed it,
When that fierce tempest blew,
My power would have stilled it,
Or turned its blast from you
But He who dwells in heaven,
Whence all our blessings flow,
For which aye praise be given,
Did not desire it so.

If it had been the Lord's will,
at the time,
I would have gladly relieved 
you of this heavy tempest.
But the Lord above, 
who rules all,
He who we should always praise, 
did not desire so.

Thirteenth stanza

Seer Prinslick was ghedreven
Mijn Princelick ghemoet,
Stantvastich is ghebleven
Mijn hert in teghenspoet,
Den Heer heb ick ghebeden
Van mijnes herten gront,
Dat hy mijn saeck wil reden,
Mijn onschult doen bekant.

Zeer christlijk was gedreven
mijn prinselijk gemoed,
standvastig is gebleven
mijn hart in tegenspoed.
De Heer heb ik gebeden
uit mijnes harten grond,
dat Hij mijn zaak wil redden,
mijn onschuld maken kond.

Steadfast my heart remaineth
In my adversity
My princely courage straineth
All nerves to live and be.
I've prayed the Lord my Master
With fervid heart and tense
To save me from disaster
And prove my innocence.

By a Christian mood was driven
My princely heart 
Steadfast remained 
my heart in adversity
To the Lord I prayed, 
from the bottom of my heart,
that He may save my cause, 
and proclaim my innocence.

Fourteenth stanza

Oorlof mijn arme Schapen
Die zijt in grooten noot,
V Herder sal niet slapen
Al zijt ghy nu verstroyt:
Tot Godt wilt v begheven,
Syn heylsaem Woort neemt aen,
Als vrome Christen leven,
Tsal hier haest zijn ghedaen.

Oorlof, mijn arme schapen
die zijt in grote nood,
uw herder zal niet slapen,
al zijt gij nu verstrooid.
Tot God wilt u begeven,
zijn heilzaam woord neemt aan,
als vrome christen leven,-
't zal hier haast zijn gedaan.

Alas! my flock. To sever
Is hard on us. Farewell.
Your Shepherd wakes, wherever
Dispersed you may dwell,
Pray God that He may ease you.
His Gospel be your cure.
Walk in the steps of Jesus
This life will not endure.

Farewell, my poor sheep, 
who are in deep despair.
Your shepherd will not sleep, 
even though you are now dispersed.
Turn to God, 
accept his curing word. 
Live as a good Christian;
soon, it will be finished here .

Fifteenth stanza

Voor Godt wil ick belijden
End zijner grooter Macht,
Dat ick tot gheenen tijden
Den Coninck heb veracht:
Dan dat ick Godt den Heere
Der hoochster Maiesteyt,
Heb moeten obedieren,
Inder gherechticheyt.

Voor God wil ik belijden
en zijne grote macht,
dat ik tot gene tijden
de Koning heb veracht,
dan dat ik God de Here,
de hoogste Majesteit,
heb moeten obediëren
in de gerechtigheid.

Unto the Lord His power
I do confession make
That ne'er at any hour
Ill of the King I spake.
But unto God, the greatest
Of Majesties I owe
Obedience first and latest,
For Justice wills it so.

I want to confess to God, 
and to his great power
that I have never 
despised the King.
except that to God the Lord, 
the highest Majesty
I've been obedient
in justice.





Not Applicable



There is ongoing dispute as to what the author meant with "Duytschen bloedt" in the song's lyrics. This has to do with both post World War II anti-German sentiment among the Dutch, and/or etymological obscurity of the word "Duytsch".

There have long been doubts regarding the exact meaning of "Duytsch". The cause of this is that the diphthong used in "Duytsch" had been recorded as having two different pronunciations, either one of which would drastically alter the meaning of the word, as Early Modern Dutch had yet to develop a truly standardized spelling. If the pronunciation of "uy" was meant to be /œy/, its meaning would be "German"; and was assumed to refer to William of Orange being born in Germany, but in the case of /i/ it would mean "Diets", an archaic term for the Dutch, and assumed to mean that William saw himself as one of the Dutch.[10]

The debate would eventually change from an academic one, into a public one as the official 1932 lyrics of Het Wilhelmus used Duits as the modernized spelling of "Duytsch", which is the contemporary Dutch term used to refer to Germans. Initially this remained largely unnoticed, but following the brutal German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II many did not like the notion of their Father of the Fatherland being of the same heritage as the people they hated so much during the 5 year occupation. Several attempts were made to change Duits to Diets after the war, but to no effect. Nevertheless the use of Diets has become a common, be it unofficial, variation on the lyrics.[10]

Today, linguists remain divided on the exact meaning, with many acknowledging it has probably been lost to time forever.[10]


The last two lines of the first stanza indicate that the leader of the Dutch civil war against Spanish Empire of which they were part, had no specific quarrel with Philip II of Spain, but rather with his emissaries in the Low Countries, like Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. This may have been because at the time (late 16th century) it was uncommon to publicly doubt the Divine Right of Kings. It strikes the modern Dutch ear as an obsolete formula. For some of the resistance fighters of the day, the stanza may have resonated with irony or knowing sarcasm.

Notes and references

  1. ^ - facts
  2. ^ - Sheet music
  3. ^
  4. ^ "There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition; the anthem has also never been officially declared as the national anthem of the country, the royal anthem (as this technically is) is used as the national anthem as a matter of tradition."
  5. ^ The oldest anthem is the Dutch Wilhelmus, which dates from the mid-16th century, while the oldest lyrics can be claimed by the Japanese Kimigayo.
  6. ^ The Dutch Royal House
  7. ^ J. te Winkel, De ontwikkelingsgang der Nederlandsche letterkunde. Deel 2: Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche letterkunde van Middeleeuwen en Rederijkerstijd (Haarlem 1922), p. 491 n. 1.[1]
  8. ^ Letter of the Dutch House of Representatives, concerning protocol of the Dutch Anthem.
  9. ^ Each of the 15 stanzas lasts 56 seconds, and the last stanza has a Ritenuto.
  10. ^ a b c d e Het Wilhelmus. Analyse van de inhoud, de structuur en de boodschap by T. van Doorn
  11. ^ Het Wilhelmus as an SS song. (Dutch)
  12. ^ This article uses Dutch to translate the ambiguous word "Duytschen" as it is etymologically closer to the original than "German" For further information see the interpretation section (above).

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Het Wilhelmus
by Marnix van St. Aldegonde
This is the text of the national anthem of the Netherlands in its oldest form. It has been changed nowadays into modern Dutch, but the words remain the same.

Usually, only the first and sometimes also the sixth verse is sung.

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ick van Duytschen Bloedt,
Den Vaderland ghetrouwe
Blijf ick tot inden doet;
Een Prince van Orangien
Ben ick vry onverveert.
Den Coninck van Hispangien
Heb ick altijt gheeert.
William of Nassau
Am I of German blood,
True to the fatherland
I remain into death;
A prince of Orange
I am free, unafraid.
The King of Spain
I have always honoured.

In Godes vrees te leven
Heb ick altijt betracht,
Daerom ben ick verdreven
Om Land, om Luyd ghebracht:
Maer Godt sal my regeren
Als een goet Instrument,
Dat ick sal wederkeeren
In mijnen Regiment.

Lijdt U, mijn Ondersaten,
Die oprecht zijn van aert,
Godt sal u niet verlaten
Al zijt ghy nu beswaert:
Die vroom begheert te leven,
Bidt Godt nacht ende dach.
Dat Hy my cracht wil gheven
Dat ick u helpen mach.

Lijf ende goed al te samen
Heb ick u niet verschoont,
Mijn Broeders, hooch van Namen,
Hebbent u oock vertoont:
Graef Adolff is ghebleven,
In Vrieslandt in den Slach,
Sijn siel int eewich leven
Verwacht den jonghsten dach.

Edel en Hooch gheboren
Van Keyserlicken stam:
Een Vorst des Rijcks vercoren,
Als een vroom Christen-man,
Voor Godes Woort ghepreesen,
Heb ick vrij onversaecht,
Als een helt zonder vreesen
Mijn edel bloet gewaecht.

Mijn schilt ende betrouwen
Zijt ghy, O Godt, mijn Heer.
Op U soo wil ick bouwen,
Verlaet my nimmermeer;
Dat ick doch vroom mag blijven
U dienaer t'aller stond
Die tyranny verdrijven,
Die my mijn hert doorwondt.
My shield and trust
Are You, o God, my Lord.
On You I want to build,
Leave me nevermore.
That I may remain pious
Your servant at all times
Drive away the tyranny
That wounds my heart.

Val al die my beswaren,
End mijn vervolghers zijn,
Mijn Godt wilt doch bewaren
Den trouwen dienaer dijn:
Dat sy my niet verasschen
In haeren boosen moet,
Haer handen niet en wasschen
In mijn onschuldich bloet.

Als David moeste vluchten
Voor Saul den tyran:
Soo heb ick moeten suchten
Met menich edelman:
Maer Godt heeft hem verheven,
Verlost uit alder noot,
Een Coninckrijck ghegheven
In Israël, seer groot.

Na tsuer sal ick ontfanghen
Van Godt, mijn Heer, dat soet,
Daer na so doet verlanghen
Mijn vorstelick ghemoet,
Dat is, dat ick mag sterven
Met eeren, in dat velt,
Een eeuwich rijk verwerven
Als een ghetrouwe helt.

Niets doet my meer erbarmen
In mijnen wederspoet,
Dan dat men siet verarmen
Des Conincks landen goet,
Dat ud de Spaengiaerts crencken,
O edel Neerlandt soet,
Als ick daeraen ghedencke,
Mijn edel hert dat bloet.

Als een Prins opgheseten
Met mijnes heyres cracht,
Van den tyran vermeten
Heb ick den slach verwacht,
Die, by Maestricht begraven,
Bevreesde mijn ghewelt;
Mijn ruyters sach men draven
Seer moedich door dat velt.

Soo het den wil des Heeren
Op die tijt had gheweest,
Had ick geern willen keeren
Van u dit swaer tempeest:
Maer de Heer van hier boven
Die alle dinck regeert,
Die men altijt moet loven,
En heeftet niet begeert.

Seer christlick was ghedreven
Mijn princelick ghemoet,
Stantvastich is ghebleven
Mijn hert in teghenspoet,
Den Heer heb ick ghebeden
Van mijnes herten gront,
Dat Hy mijn saeck wil reden,
Mijn onschult doen oircont.

Oorlof mijn arme schapen,
Die zijt in grooten noot.
U Herder sal niet slapen,
Al zijt ghy nu verstroit:
Tot Godt wilt u begheven,
Sijn heylsaem woort neemt aen,
Als vrome Christen leven,
Tsal hier haest zijn ghedaen.

Voor Godt wil ick belijden
End sijner grooter macht,
Dat ick tot gheenen tijden
Den Coninck heb veracht:
Dan dat ick Godt den Heere,
Der hoochster Majesteyt,
Heb moeten obedieren,
In der gherechticheyt.

Wikipedia logo Wikipedia has more on:
Het Wilhelmus.

Simple English

Wilhelmus is the title and first word of the Dutch national anthem. It became the anthem in 1932. The melody is taken from a French soldier's song. It is the oldest melody of a national anthem of the world.[1] The song has 15 verses, and the first letters of each verse form the name "Willem van Nassov", the subject of the song.

Lyrics (translation):

"William of Nassau,
am I of German descent.
True to the fatherland,
I'll be until death.
A prince of Orange,
am I free and brave.
The king of Spain,
I have always honoured."

Original version:

"Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
ben ik, van Duitschen 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."




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