Flag of The Netherlands
Adopted February 19, 1937 [1]
Designed by (unknown)
Proportions 2:3 [2]

The Prinsenvlag


Dutch and Flemish neo-Nazi's waving the Prince's flag


A Dutch flag flown with a pennant.


A set of Dutch flag waved at half mast for Remembrance Day.


The flag flown with a school bag attached to it.


A school bag attached to a Frisian flag.

The flag of The Netherlands is a horizontal equal tricolour of red, white, and blue. The flag is used both by the The Netherlands in Europe as by the Kingdom of The Netherlands, which also encompasses Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.


The flag was taken from the original orange, white, and blue design, which was the Prince's flag. [3]

Prince's flagEdit

The Prince's flag was made of three equal horizontal stripes of orange, white, and blue. The flag was first hoisted in 1572 in Den Briel, [4] and was since then used as an informal flag for The Netherlands until the Republic of the United Netherlands was formally replaced by Batavian Republic French puppet state.

During almost its entire history it was used side by side with the current Dutch flag, initially the coming into being of the latter was possibly a result of the method of dying, which resulted in a very dark hue of orange, resembling red. [5] Later the red flag was deliberately used by those who opposed the ruling house of Orange, replacing their livery colours with red, white and blue. Despite a short republican intermezzo the two flags remained at status quo for a very long time, only ending with the formal adoption of the current flag in 1937. [6] Though it main seem strange that The Netherlands, being a monarchy, adopted the flag popular among the former republican faction the main reason for this was that the Dutch Nazi party used the orange flag during World War Two and therefore the more neutral republican flag was adopted. Its usage during the war, and the fact that Apartheid South Africa used a replica of this flag make it a highly controversial flag. [7]

Symbolism of the Prince's flagEdit

The orange, white, and blue were the livery colours of William I, Prince of Orange. The colours were put into a horizontal tricolour.

Dutch flag customsEdit

Though Dutch law does not stipulate anything on the actual usage of the national flag, there are some formalised rules attached to flag waving in The Netherlands, which are generally (though not always) obeyed. The current instructions for flag waving were drafted in the 1980s by then prime minister Van Agt, the rules include:

  • The Dutch flag is to be treated with respect
  • The flag is to be hoisted at sunrise and lowered at sunset. The hoisting and lowering of the flag should not be done either too fast or overly slow.
  • The flag is not allowed to touch the ground or bushes.
  • The flag is allowed to remain waving at night, on the condition that it be properly lit. The colours of the flags are to be visible at all times.
  • The national flag should always be hung from a mast or pole, and is not allowed to be used as decoration (usage as drapery is an exception to this rule).
  • The ratio is always 3:2, applying additional decorations to the flag is forbidden.[8]

Flag waving daysEdit

Van Agt also stipulated a set of days on which waving the flag is appropriate. Though waving the flag on other days than those found in the regulations, it is often frowned upon or even seen as disrespectful. Should a flag day be on a Christian holiday or a Sunday the date in parenthesis is observed. On days related to the Royal House (marked in orange) it is allowed to fly an orange pennant with the flag.[9]

Date Occasion Additional comments
  31 January (1 February) Birthday of HRH Queen Beatrix none
  27 April (28 April) Birthday of HRH Prince William-Alexander none
  30 April (29 April) Queen's Day none
  4 May National Remembrance of the Dead Flag is to be hoisted after 18.00. Flag should be at half-mast.
  5 May Liberation day. none
  17 May Birthday of HRH Princess Máxima none
  15 August Japanese capitulation WW II none
  3rd Tuesday in September "Prinsjesdag" Only in The Hague.
  7 December (8 December) Birthday HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia none
  15 December (16 December) Kingdom Day none

Finishing High SchoolEdit

In The Netherlands it is customary for High School students who successfully passed their exams to wave the national flag with their school bag attached to the flag pole. Though this custom contradicts the official rules for the waving of flags the tradition is held high and followed by universally all graduated High School students. In the month of June, seeing a school bag hanging from a flag post should not be an uncommon sight[10]. In the province of Friesland, the Frisian flag is often used instead of the national flag[11]


  • Orange is currently the national colour of The Netherlands, although the current flag does not use the colour.
  • Many South African flags and flags from the New York region were based off of the Prince's flag.


  1. the netherlands flag and description at WorldAtlas.Com
  2. Dutch Flags (The Netherlands) from the World Flag Database
  3. The Princevlag at Flags of the World
  4. History of Holland - Chapter IV: The Revolt of the Netherlands (by George Edmundson)
  5. Princevlag at Flags of the World
  6. the netherlands flag and description at WorldAtlas.Com
  7. Nederlandse Vereniging voor Vlaggenkunde on the Dutch flag (nl)
  8. Geslaagd, mag de vlag met schooltas uit (nl)
  9. Vlagprotocol (nl)
  10. Geslaagd, mag de vlag met schooltas uit (nl)
  11. Feest! (nl)
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Netherlands Subdivisions of the Kingdom of The Netherlands
Countries: ArubaCuraçaoNetherlandsSint Maarten
Provinces of The Netherlands: DrentheFlevolandFrieslandGelderlandGroningenLimburgNorth BrabantNorth HollandOverijsselUtrechtZeelandSouth Holland
Metropolitan areas: AlmeloAlmereAmsterdamArnhemBarendrechtDordrechtEindhovenGorinchemLeidenLisseMaastrichtNieuwkoopNijmegenPapendrechtSliedrechtStrijenThe HagueUtrechtVlaardingenZwijndrecht
Special municipalities: BonaireSabaSint Eustatius
Former countries: Netherlands Antilles (1986-2010)Suriname (1959-1975)

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