The lineage began with the famous William of Orange, who was crowned Prince of Orange in 1544. With his leadership, the colour orange became a symbol of the Dutch Royal family. The popularity of old Willy comes down to much more than just being a passive heir to the throne though, so who exactly was he?
Who was William of Orange?
William of Orange, also known as William the Silent or William I, was named heir to the county of Orange by René of Chalon, who himself died with no children. William went on to lead the Dutch revolt against the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands during the Eighty Years’ War (Dutch War of Independence, 1568–1648). His leadership was extremely influential for the rebellion, contributing to the official independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands in 1648. He is known as the father of the Netherlands, bringing unity to the region for the first time. But he is also the first ancestor of the current Royal Family, and is thus the founder of this era of Dutch monarchy. So his name, and the bright colour that goes with it, symbolise the Dutch state.
Today, many national sports teams from the Netherlands dress totally in orange, including of course the Oranje(Orange), nickname of the Dutch national football team. The army of sports fans that follow them are known as the Oranje Legioen (Orange Legion) with an almost magical ability to turn every bar, stadium and street they hit completely orange. The phenomenon is known as Oranjekoorts (Orange fever) and becomes just as crazy as it sounds. On royal birthdays, the Dutch tricolor is flown with an orange pennant above it. Each year on April 27, Amsterdam — and indeed the entire county — turns orange. Revelers can be heard to sing, “Oranje boven, oranje boven. leve de Koning!” (Orange on top, Orange on top. Long Live the King!) Wearing orange in the Netherlands will certainly give you credit on almost any day of the year. Except perhaps this day — April 30. Before the king’s succession in 2013, King’s Day was in fact Queen’s Day, in honour of Queen Beatrix. It was celebrated on April 30 but of course switched to April 27 when the king came to the throne. But since the change, many tourists have still arrived in the Netherlands fully dressed in orange on April 30 to celebrate the queen. These oblivious enthusiasts became known as "vergistoeristen" — mistake tourists. Oh dear. If you’re not familiar with the celebration, King's Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands during which the entire nation dresses in orange, drinks (a lot... and I mean A LOT!!!) beer and celebrates the king’s birthday. And boy, do we celebrate.