Netherlands

Het Wilhelmus

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First performed circa 1574, Het Wilhelmus is the oldest national anthem in the world (though the words of the Japanese anthem are older). It tells of William of Orange's fight against the King of Spain, and is written from a first-person perspective, as if it were sung by William himself.

The text of the anthem is one verse of a longer song, fifteen verses in total, which forms an acrostic saying "Willem Van Nazzov" ("William of Nassau"). Although it was the de facto Dutch anthem for almost four centuries, it was only officially adopted in 1932.

Lyrics:

Dutch:

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.

English:

William of Nassau, scion
Of a German and ancient line,
I dedicate undying
Faith to this land of mine.
A prince am I undaunted,
Of Orange, ever free,
To the king of Spain I’ve granted
A lifelong loyalty.

Details:

Composer:
Adrianus Valerius
Lyricist:
Unknown
Date:
First used as anthem circa 1574, Adopted 1932
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