World's Strangest National Anthems
One thing that can usually be
counted on in a national anthem is its focus on the mother country. But The
Netherlands’ “Het Wilhelmus (The William),” written around 1574 (making it one
of the oldest anthems in existence), doesn’t abide by even that single rule.
Not only is the song odd in that it unfolds in the first person—as though the
singer is William of Orange, the Dutch leader who started the 80-year war for
independence against Spain. It also pledges allegiance to the King of Spain in
the very first verse.
A prince am I undaunted,
Of Orange, ever free,
To the king of Spain I’ve granted
A lifelong loyalty.