Anthem quick facts

Share this:

Shortest national anthem:

The world’s shortest national anthem, musically, is Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty, the national anthem of Uganda, which is eight bars long. The world’s shortest national anthem by text is the Japanese anthem, Kimigayo. Read more here about the world’s shortest anthems.

Longest national anthem:

Hymn to Liberty, the Greek national anthem, has the lengthiest lyrics of any national anthem — the full text of the anthem is 158 verses long. However, only the first two verses are used as the national anthem. Musically, Uruguay’s anthem, the Himno Nacional de Uruguay, is the longest. It has 105 bars of music, and depending on the tempo of the performance, it can take anywhere from four to seven minutes to perform.

Oldest national anthem:

The oldest national anthem in the world is usually said to be either Japan’s Kimigayo or Het Wilhelmus, the anthem of the Netherlands. However, there are other contenders for the title, too.

Newest national anthem:

South Sudan is the newest sovereign state in the world, and it has the world’s newest anthem, South Sudan Oyee!, which was written in late 2010 and adopted on July 9th 2011.

The country that most recently changed its anthem was Libya, which readopted its former anthem, Libya, Libya, Libya, in October 2011, after the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi.

‘That sounds familiar!’ — musically similar national anthems:

  • The anthems of Estonia and Finland — musically identical, with different lyrics.
  • The anthems of Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom — musically identical, with different lyrics.
  • The anthems of Poland and the former Yugoslavia — musically similar, and with similar lyrical themes, possibly both derived from the same piece of music.
  • The anthems of Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa — all based on the hymn Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, written by Enoch Sontonga in 1897. Variations on the same hymn were also previously used as the national anthems of Zimbabwe and Namibia.