If you have ever watched the Dutch national soccer team play anywhere in the world — or if you’ve been in Amsterdam during Holland’s annual Queen’s Day celebration1 — 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.
The answer is simple: Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, which hails from the House of Orange.
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
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.
On royal birthdays, the Dutch tricolor is flown with an orange pennant above it. Each year on April 30, Amsterdam — and indeed the entire county — turns orange. Revelers can be heard to sing, “Oranje boven, oranje boven. leve the Koningin!” (Orange on top, Orange on top. Long Live the Queen!)
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…
Coming to Amsterdam? Here’s what NOT to do
- King’s Day, starting in 2015 ↩
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Keyword: amsterdam • Dutch Royal Family • Holland • House of Orange • Netherlands • Orange