Why the Dutch wear orange

If you have ever watched the Dutch national soccer team play football anywhere in the world — or if you’ve been in Amsterdam during Holland’s annual King’s Day celebration (formerly Queen’s Day) — you may wonder why nearly all Dutch people dress in orange during such occasions.

After all, the colors of the official Dutch flag are red, white, and blue.

Dutch people wearing orange clothes

Dutch soccer fans line the canals to celebrate the Dutch National Football team after it finished in second place in the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament

The answer is simple: Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, which hails from the House of Orange.

More specifically:

The House of Orange-Nassau (in Dutch: Huis van Oranje-Nassau), a branch of the German House of Nassau, has played a central role in the political life of the Netherlands — and at times in Europe — since William I of Orange (also known as “William the Silent” and “Father of the Fatherland”) organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years’ War led to an independent Dutch state.
– Source: Wikipedia, last accessed June 10, 2008

Wikipedia also notes that “Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France.

The Dutch find these kind of events enormously gezellig

There’s a whole bunch of dry to very dry history behind all of it.

Suffice it to say that to this day members of the House of Orange are extremely popular in the Netherlands. The color orange has come to symbolize the country, and to signify national pride.

Queen's Day (from 2015 King's Day) is one occasion on which the Dutch wear orange

King’s Day (Queen’s Day before 2014) is one occasion on which the Dutch wear orange

On royal birthdays, the Dutch tricolor is flown with an orange pennant above it. Each year on April 27, Amsterdam — and indeed the entire county — turns orange. Revelers can be heard to sing, “Oranje boven, oranje boven. leve the Koning!” (Orange on top, Orange on top. Long Live the King!)

Flag of the Netherlands

Oranje, Dutch for orange, is the nickname of the Dutch national soccer team.

Bonus fact: During WWII, Dutch housewives often made sure that laundry was hung out to dry in a particular pattern: something orange, something red, something white, and something blue…

Get your own orange gear

arrow Dutch National Football Team celebration turns Amsterdam canals orange

On Queen's Day (King's Day, from 2014), wear something orange, find a boat, and sail the canals

On King’s Day wear something orange, find a boat, and sail the canals

arrow Coming to Amsterdam? Here’s what NOT to do

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This post was last updated: Jul. 9, 2016    

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