netherlands orange

Why Does the Netherlands Wears Orange?

Why Does the Netherlands Wears Orange?

(Last Updated On: December 30, 2023)

The Netherlands is a monarchy.

The Dutch wear orange for various reasons, one rooted in the country’s history as a monarchy. In the 16th century, William of Orange, also known as William the Silent, led a revolt against the Spanish, who had occupied the Netherlands for years. He became a symbol of the Dutch resistance and was the first to use the orange flag, which eventually evolved into the national flag. William of Orange, a key figure in the House of Nassau, sparked national unity through his leadership during the 15th and 16th centuries, laying the foundation for the House of Orange-Nassau’s enduring influence on Dutch history.

The House of Orange-Nassau, established by William, has maintained its prominence in the Netherlands, notably through individuals like Stadtholder William, William II, William III (who also became King of England), and more recently, William V. The royal family’s connection to the color orange has persisted through the centuries, solidifying its association with the Dutch monarchy.

Orange’s significance extends beyond politics. During the 17th century, the Netherlands saw a rise in the cultivation of orange carrots, meeting consumer demand for vibrant-colored vegetables. This economic boon solidified orange’s symbolic importance, tying it to Dutch economic prosperity. Today, orange is deeply embedded in Dutch culture and identity, prominently featured on the national flag with its horizontal stripes, the attire of the national football team, and King’s Day celebrations. Notably, Max Verstappen, the Dutch Formula One driver, proudly displays the vibrant hue in his racing suit, further underscoring the enduring legacy of Dutch orange beyond just its historical and national symbolism.

Fun fact: The color orange is so significant to Dutch culture that it even has its hexadecimal color code, #FFA500, known as Dutch Orange.

netherlands colors
holland orange

The Royal House of Orange

The Dutch monarchy, epitomized by the House of Orange, has an extensive legacy dating to the Dutch Republic in the 16th century. The House of Orange wielded substantial influence in the nation’s political and military spheres, becoming inseparable from Dutch national identity. King Willem-Alexander and his family, integral members of this house, perpetuate its heritage. Interestingly, the House of Orange’s nomenclature traces back to France’s Orange city. William of Orange, a pivotal figure in the Dutch Republic’s struggle for independence from Spain in the 16th century, inherited the title of Prince of Orange from his French predecessors. Consequently, the House of Orange ascended to primacy within the Dutch Republic and eventually acquired a symbolic status within Dutch society. Moreover, the House of Orange is intrinsically linked to the color orange, a hue that emerged in Dutch history during the late 16th century when Dutch Army soldiers adopted orange sashes, aligning themselves with William of Orange. Subsequently, orange was integrated into the Dutch flag, depicted by a blue stripe amidst two horizontal red lines.

Presently, orange stands as the official color of the Dutch National Team, prominently featured in Dutch sporting events. Notably, the Netherlands boasts King’s Day festivities, a celebration where the populace adorns orange attire to honor the reigning monarch’s birthday. These customs trace their origins to the House of Orange and its profound impact on Dutch history and culture. The House’s significance spans centuries, bridging the gap between the 15th and 18th centuries, marking key milestones in the evolution of the Dutch nation. The House of Orange’s influence is enshrined in royal decrees, with figures like Frederick Henry and Henry III playing pivotal roles in its history. Their contributions further solidified the House of Orange’s position and its symbolic association with the vibrant color that now epitomizes Dutch pride.

The Dutch national color

As with many countries, the Netherlands has its own national color representing its people and culture. This color is none other than the vibrant shade of orange, which finds its roots in the rich history of the House of Orange. Historically, the Dutch royal family, led by influential figures like Philip William of Orange, played a significant role in developing the national color. The House of Orange, tracing its lineage back to the 15th century and prominently active in the 17th century, has been the ruling dynasty of the Netherlands. Members of the Ducal Family, including the Ch’lon-Orange family, contributed to the extensive knowledge and detailed family tree associated with the entire Orange-Nassau family.

The color orange is impossible to miss in Dutch culture, evident in everything from the orange shirts worn during significant sporting events to the flags and decorations on national holidays. It’s a hue symbolizing pride, unity, and solidarity for the Dutch people. The Dutch tricolour flag, with its horizontally striped red-white-blue pattern, bears the essence of this vibrant color. Modern-day flags, including the Royal Flag and flags like those of Klein, Johor, and African nations, resonate with the legacy of the color orange, embodying the spirit of independence and rebellion against oppressors, as observed in the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule in the 16th century. This symbolic color represents the Dutch spirit and remains a testament to the resilience of the Dutch people throughout history.

netherlands why orange
why does netherlands wear orange

Why orange?

The question of why the Netherlands wears orange has puzzled many people over the years. The answer lies in the country’s history and its royal family, particularly the House of Orange-Nassau that held sway during the 15th century. The Netherlands’ national color, orange, has its roots in this influential era, notably during the reigns of pivotal figures like William of Orange, William I, William IV, William VI, John William Friso, and William Frederick. The House of Orange-Nassau, led by significant rulers such as William of Orange and Philip II, played a defining role in the country’s narrative.

The prominence of the color orange in Dutch culture isn’t merely happenstance. It symbolizes the Dutch spirit of independence, echoing the bold and bright nature of the Dutch people themselves. This color choice, perhaps coinciding with the name of the ruling House of Orange-Nassau, became deeply intertwined with Dutch identity. Consequently, it’s common for the Dutch populace to flaunt orange garments, especially during King’s Day festivities, honoring King Willem-Alexander. The French flag, in contrast to the Dutch flag with its use of the color orange, carries no trace of the vibrant hue in its design. This vivid choice of color has become a powerful emblem, proudly donned by the Dutch populace, signifying their deep-seated pride in their country’s rich history and royal lineage.

Wearing orange on King’s Day

Regarding festive celebrations, King’s Day is one of the remarkable moments when the Netherlands wears orange. April 27th holds a special significance in the Netherlands as it is the day the country celebrates King’s Day, which coincides with the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. During King’s Day, the streets of the Netherlands come alive with a sea of orange as people of all ages don orange-colored clothing and accessories to celebrate their national pride. From hats and scarves to sunglasses and t-shirts, orange can be seen nationwide. One reason for this widespread orange-wearing tradition on King’s Day is to pay tribute to the House of Orange-Nassau, the Dutch royal family. Orange is not only the national color of the Netherlands but also the color of the Royal House of Orange. The House of Orange-Nassau has been part of Dutch history for centuries and is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious royal families. The current monarch, King Willem-Alexander, is the sixth king of the House of Orange-Nassau and has been in power since 2013. Wearing orange on King’s Day is a way for the Dutch people to show their appreciation and support for their beloved monarch and his family. It also showcases their national pride and unity as they celebrate their shared heritage and culture. Read more about facts about the Netherlands.

Symbol of Resistance and Unity

During the Eighty Years’ War against Spain, the Dutch embraced the vibrant color orange as a potent symbol of unity and defiance. This hue transcended mere pigment, embodying the collective spirit of those rallying for independence. It emerged as an emblem proudly adorned by William of Orange’s supporters, forging a visual language of opposition against the repressive Spanish rule. Beyond its chromatic essence, orange became a potent visual statement, encapsulating the fervor and determination of a nation striving for freedom.

The Complete Flags project meticulously cataloged symbols of identity, including the flag of the mayor and the flag of Johor, showcasing the diverse representation of communities and regions worldwide. Examining economic history through the lens of flags reveals intricate narratives of trade, conquest, and innovation, offering a visual chronicle of societies’ evolution. One striking phenomenon seen in some flags is the use of inverted colors, a deliberate choice often carrying symbolic significance. For instance, the French flag’s iconic tricolor, with its inverted colors of blue, white, and red, symbolizes the shift from monarchy to republicanism.

Amidst these banners of identity and history, the color orange stands as a vivid testament to the unwavering spirit of those advocating for liberty and autonomy. Its resonance extended far beyond its pigment, symbolizing resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity. As a hue donned by those advocating for liberty, it encapsulated the unyielding spirit and unwavering resolve of a populace striving for autonomy. This chromatic choice transcended mere aesthetics, transforming into a resounding declaration of resistance against oppression, serving as a uniting force that rallied individuals under a shared vision of sovereignty and freedom.

Cultural Significance 

Orange holds a profound cultural significance in the Netherlands, transcending mere historical relevance. Its vibrant colour orange hue is interwoven into the fabric of Dutch traditions, notably showcased during King’s Day—an exuberant nationwide festivity commemorating the monarch’s birthday. During this jubilant occasion, the nation undergoes a remarkable transformation, awash in a radiant sea of orange. Citizens enthusiastically don orange attire, bedeck themselves with vivid accessories, and adorn their hair with orange dye. This collective display serves as a spirited testament to their unwavering national pride and fosters a profound sense of unity among the Dutch populace. Beyond its visual spectacle, the ubiquity of orange during King’s Day embodies a deeper cultural resonance, symbolizing solidarity, celebration, and a shared identity. It symbolizes not just a color preference but an annual ritual that binds the Dutch together, forging bonds through a chromatic expression that speaks volumes about their collective spirit and heritage.

The royal houses of Europe have historically used colors to represent their lineage and authority. Similarly, the Flag of the Mayor and Flag of Johor bear symbols and inverted colours, often with a central stripe or a gold bend as distinguishing features. These elements, much like the colour orange in the Dutch context, carry significant cultural and historical connotations, embodying the legacy and pride of the regions they represent.


The vibrant hue of orange in the Netherlands isn’t merely a color choice; it’s an emblem of an enduring legacy deeply ingrained in Dutch history and culture. Rooted in the House of Orange-Nassau’s illustrious lineage, this color symbolizes far more than mere aesthetics. From its origins in the resistance against Spanish occupation led by William of Orange to its integration into the Dutch flag, orange stands as a testament to resilience, independence, and national pride. The House’s influence, spanning centuries and intertwined with pivotal historical moments, continues to echo through modern-day traditions, from sports events to King’s Day celebrations. As the Dutch don orange in honor of their monarchy and heritage, they not only pay homage to their past but also showcase a united front, proudly embracing their shared identity and rich cultural tapestry. Orange isn’t just a color in the Netherlands; it’s a vibrant thread weaving together a tapestry of history, tradition, and unity among its people. This historical tapestry reflects the dynamic nature of the region, with colored stars marking key periods of change, including Henry Casimir’s era in the 10th century, the economic growth under Prince Maurice in the 19th century, and the nuanced flags like those of Klein and Johor. Even flags representing municipal governance, like the flag of York City or the flag of the mayor, speak volumes about local autonomy and heritage. In the mix of flags, the horizontally striped red-white-blue flag and the African flag bear stories of interconnectedness and influence across continents. It’s an advanced degree of symbolism, where inverted colors and colored stars paint a vivid narrative of intertwined histories and global connections, much like the Chinese city’s flag that reflects a deep-rooted cultural significance.


What is the significance of the House of Orange-Nassau?

The House of Orange-Nassau is the Dutch royal family that has played a significant role in the country’s history. The color orange became associated with the House of Orange-Nassau during the Dutch War of Independence in the 16th century.

How did Orange become associated with the Dutch royal family?

The association of Orange with the Dutch royal family dates back to the 16th century when William of Orange, also known as William the Silent, led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule. He became a national hero, and the color orange became a symbol of the fight for Dutch independence.

Is there any historical significance to the color orange?

Yes, the color orange is deeply rooted in Dutch history. It symbolizes the Dutch struggle for independence, national pride, and the unity of the Dutch people.

Do Dutch sports teams also wear orange?

Yes, Dutch sports teams often wear orange uniforms to represent national pride. Orange is widely associated with Dutch sports, especially during international competitions like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.

Does the color orange hold any cultural or traditional meaning in the Netherlands?

Besides its association with the royal family, orange has become integral to Dutch culture and traditions. It is prominently seen during national holidays, such as King’s Day (Koningsdag), when the country celebrates the reigning monarch’s birthday.

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