Dutch Language Blog

Tens of thousands of Dutchies threaten to leave the country Posted by on Apr 28, 2013 in Culture

Flickr/League of Women Voters of California

Tens of thousands of Dutch citizens are in an uproar over something so heinous that they’re threatening to leave the country if something is not done about it.

What could be so utterly terrible, so unfathomably unjust, so unpatriotic that it would evoke such a strong reaction among the Dutch people?

It’s tyranny! No, it’s ridiculously high taxes! No, it’s…..

Het Koningslied!

Dun, dun, DUN!

Yes, the Dutch are all up in arms over a song.

Not just any song, mind you. But the King’s Song (koning = king, lied=song).

If you haven’t been living under a rock or on a deserted island, you should have heard by now that the Netherlands is getting a new monarch: a king.

“Yeah, yeah,” you may be thinking to yourself. “Big deal. The Netherlands is a monarchy, of course they’re getting a king.”

Au contraire… I mean, on the contrary… I mean, integendeel!

This is a huge deal for the Netherlands. Why? Because the Dutch haven’t had a king since Willem III… one hundred and twenty-three years ago!

On January 28th of this year, Queen Beatrix announced that she would be abdicating, making room for Willem-Alexander to take the throne accompanied by his beautiful Argentinian-born wife Maxima.

It was decided that the abdication/inauguration shindig would take place on April 30, 2013 to coincide with Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day).

Now, Koninginnedag is a major holiday in the Netherlands. I would even go so far as to say it’s the biggest and best-loved holiday in the Netherlands. There’s drinking, music, flea markets, and orange, orange everywhere as the Dutch go crazy with patriotic pride.

Add to that, the fact that this year marks the last Koninginnedag for quite some time (Willem-Alexander has announced that, beginning in 2014, the holiday will be known as Koningsdag and will be celebrated on April 27th as part of his birthday celebration), and we here in the Netherlands are in for a wild party!

The Dutch are going all out to show their love for their outgoing Queen and their support for their incoming King. That includes coming up with a song to mark the occasion.

That rather significant job fell to the hands of Dutch-British composer John Ewbank. And the result was Het Koningslied – a five-minute-plus long combination of traditional and choir music with a dash of rap, which was released on April 19th and included the collaboration of 51 Dutch artists. Hundreds of thousands of school children were charged with learning the song to be sung for their new king and an elaborate music video was shot to accompany the song.

Shortly after the song’s release, a petition calling to do away with the the ‘imbecilic’ anthem or they’d leave the country had gained almost 40,000 signatures. Ewbank was heckled via Twitter and Facebook to the point that he decided to withdraw Het Koningslied.

Unfortunately, a replacement could not be found on such short notice, so the event organizers have decided to stick with Ewbank’s submission.

Ridiculous lyrics, too Disney, bizarre combination of music styles, anti-egalitarian, overproduced… the list of criticisms is long.

Is it as bad as all the naysayers say? I’ll let you be the judge of that:

Here’s the English translation courtesy of the Direct Dutch Institute

Tags: , , , ,
Keep learning Dutch with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: tiffany

Tiffany Jansen is an American magazine and copywriter in the Netherlands.


  1. Ellen:

    OMG! Dit is te erg. Wat een kinderlied. En wie is de “ik” persoon in het lied? Is dat de Nederlander of is dat Prins Willem-Alexander? En dan dat rappen. Mijn hemel, wie heeft dit besloten? Arme Nederlanders en arme, arme prins en prinses (sen).
    Sterkte allemaal.

    Ellen, Nederlandse in Amerika

    • tiffany:

      @Ellen Haha! Volgens mij is de “ik” Willem-Alexander. Heel veel mensen hadden een probleem hiermee. Groot gelijk. Maar, de tekst was door Nederlandse burgers geschreven. Ik vond het muziek niet zo erg… maar misschien komt dat door mijn Amerikanse opkomst en mijn musical theater en Disney obsessies 😉 Bedankt voor jouw reactie. Erg leuk om te horen wat een Nederlander in het buitenland hiervan vindt.

  2. Chris Brakel:

    Persoonlijk vind ik dit wel fijn klinken, met herkenbare stemmen van bekende Nederlandse artiesten , behalve het gedeelte dat begint “met de W van Willem” wat niet echt vorstelijk klinkt, maar mij aan “De film van Ome Willem” doet denken.

    Groeten uit Engeland.

  3. Ingrid:

    It sounds like a soundtrack to a Disney movie.

    • tiffany:

      @Ingrid haha! Those were my thoughts exactly!

  4. T willems:

    I heard Marco Borsarto. Lose the rap.

    • tiffany:

      @T willems Yeah, the rap is a bit unfortunate. Might not be bad on its own, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the song. I did love how many celebs they got in there though!

  5. yvonne radford:

    Voor het eerst het koningslied gehoord terwijl m’n moeder naast me staad. Nu wonen wij al zo lang in Australia, maar toch heeft er een traantje gevloeid. Een mooi lied met mooie worden, vonden het echt Hollands, alleen dat stukje met W. klopte niet zo. Het lied trekt aan het hart, nu weten wij wat we verlated hebben.

    • tiffany:

      @yvonne radford Ik vond het ook mooi. Maar, ja, die rap stuk was een beetje bizarre!