The Netherlands

The Dutch flag… as promised

by Richard on

Dutch flagAfter Mel posted an article about the Greek flag (very nice article btw), I felt almost obligated to write something about the Dutch flag. Well, here it is.

This will be also my first article here on the weblog. I always thought my first article would be about cars or sailing. How wrong I was :-).

The Dutch flag stands as a symbol of the unity and independence of the whole Kingdom of the Netherlands. The red-and-white blue is used both at land and at sea as a civil flag, service flag and war flag.
The Dutch flag is a horizontal triangular colour in red, white and blue. The flag of the Ministry of General Affairs identifies the colours as bright vermilion, clear white (silver) and cobalt blue. The flag proportions (width:length) are 2:3.

The colours have a symbolic meaning according to tradition. The red would stand for the common folk, the white for the church and the blue for the nobility. In other countries, as France, Croatia and the United States, this symbolism was appreciated and sot he same colours can be found in their flags.

The history of the current is related to two other flags, the Prince’s flag and the Staten flag.
The Prince’s flag (orange, white, blue) was the flag of Prins William Prince of Orange (“Orange” is derived from Aurasio and is unrelated to the name of the fruit or the colour). He leaded the revolt against King Phillip of Spain in 1572.
The Staten flag (red,white, blue) most likely goes back to the late medieval period. It is said that the colours were taken from the coat of arms of the Bavarian house, the rulers of the county of Holland during 1354–1433

In 1813 The Netherlands regained its independence and the Prince of Orange returned from exile. In order to demonstrate the attachment of the people to the House of Orange, the orange-white-blue Prince’s Flag and the red-white-blue State Flag were shown next to one another. Which of the two flags should be the national flag was not decided at that time.

From the same period dates the custom, prescribed spontaneously by popular will, to fly an orange pennant together with the national flag as a sign of allegiance of the people to the House of Orange. The pennant is added on King’s Day (Dutch: Koningsdag, 27 April) or any other celebration related to the Royal Family.

On 1937 February 1937 Queen Wilhelmina finally made the red, white and blue colours the national flag of The Netherlands.

The use of the Prince’s-flag (orange, white and blue) is at the moment controversial at least. Although this flag has it origin with “De Geuzen” (Gueux de mer, “Sea Beggars”), the pro-Dutch privateers. it was during World War II used in the Netherlands by the NSB (“Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging”, National Socialist Movement). When recently a right winged political party had this flag in their office it leaded to harsh discussions.

Anyway, I am proud on the Red, White, Blue!

(And Rob, thank you for allowing me to use your photo the Dutch flag. Seeing the orange pennant it was taken at a King’s Day?)



(Credit photo: Rob)

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