National anthem

The official Dutch national anthem is the Wilhelmus.

Oldest national anthem

The Wilhelmus was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1932, but it was written between 1569 and 1572. This makes it the oldest national anthem in the world.

15 verses

The Wilhelmus has 15 verses. Usually, only verses 1 and 6 are sung. The first letters of each verse spell out the name 'Willem van Nassov'.


The poet and diplomat Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde wrote the Wilhelmus.


The Wilhelmus dates from the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648), the war of independence between the Netherlands and Spain. It was sung by supporters of the Prince of Orange. The Prince is depicted as an advocate of religious freedom and an equal of the Spanish King Philip II.

You can read the text of the Wilhelmus on the Royal House website.


The melody is based on a French soldiers' song believed to date from the late 1560s.