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Why Do the Dutch Wear Orange? Unveiling the Colourful Tradition

If you've ever witnessed a Dutch sports event or found yourself strolling through the streets of Amsterdam during an event that inspires national pride, you may have noticed an abundance of orange. From clothing and accessories to face paint and decorations, the Dutch proudly display this vibrant hue. But have you ever wondered where Dutch’s affinity with this colour originates from? Join us as we explore the historical and cultural reasons behind this fascinating element of Dutch culture.

portrait of king william of orange

History and the House of Orange-Nassau

To understand the Dutch fascination with the colour orange, we need to go back to the rich history of the Netherlands.

The House of Orange-Nassau, a prominent Dutch noble family, played a significant role in the formation of the Netherlands as a nation. Dating back to the 16th century, this influential dynasty became the symbol of Dutch resistance against Spanish rule during the Eighty Years' War, and therefore comes to represent independence.

principality of orange on map

Their name in itself stems from the Principality of Orange - a region that is situated in the modern-day south of France. Although ‘orange’ in the sense of the Principality of Orange has an entirely separate etymology, its modern interpretation has been conflated with that of the colour.

William of Orange

One key figure from the House of Orange-Nassau is William of Orange, also known as William the Silent. He was a central figure in the struggle for Dutch independence, leading the Dutch in the revolution. William of Orange was also King of England in the late 17th century, where his regnal name was King William III.

A Modern Day Symbol of Loyalty and Unity

Now we know that orange is revered in Holland due to its association with the House of Orange-Nassau and their esteemed status as national heroes. In the present day, the colour retains its status as a symbol of loyalty, unity, and national pride. Wearing orange soon was and still is a way for the Dutch to express their allegiance to the House of Orange and their support for the Dutch nation as a whole. st of sweetness in every bite. What’s not to love?

Royal Family Traditions

The Dutch royal family, which still runs through the House of Orange-Nassau, continues to be deeply intertwined with the Dutch identity. The reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander, and his ancestors have preserved the tradition of wearing orange during important events and national celebrations. As a result, the Dutch people often follow suit, donning orange attire to demonstrate their allegiance to the royal family and the nation.

king willem alexander wears orange at his coronation

National Sports

Sports hold a special place in Dutch culture, and when it comes to sporting events, the Dutch take their orange obsession to new heights. The national football team, commonly referred to as "Oranje," proudly wears orange jerseys during international competitions. During international events like the World Cup, their team, fans dress in head-to-toe orange, transforming stadiums into a sea of orange fervour. This spirited display of unity and support reinforces the deep-rooted tradition of wearing orange in the Netherlands.

the dutch national hockey team sport orange uniforms

Festive Occasions and National Holidays

Beyond sports, the Dutch embrace orange during festive occasions and national holidays. King's Day, the celebration of the King's birthday, sees the entire country engulfed in orange festivities. People don orange attire, decorate their houses and streets with orange flags and banners, and participate in lively parades and outdoor events. The warm and vibrant atmosphere showcases the Dutch love for their national colour.

kings day in amsterdam

The Dutch affinity for orange is a reflection of their historical roots, deep cultural traditions, and pride in their nation. From the House of Orange-Nassau to the modern-day royal family, orange has become synonymous with Dutch unity, loyalty, and celebration. So, the next time you encounter a Dutch person donning an orange hat or scarf, remember the rich history and cultural significance behind their choice of colour. Embrace the vibrant spirit of the Dutch and join in the orange festivities!