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However, at the foundation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813, the "Wilhelmus" had fallen out of favour.
Having become monarchs with a claim to represent the entire nation and stand above factions, the House of Orange decided to break with the song which served them as heads of a faction, and the "Wilhelmus" was hence replaced by Hendrik Tollens' song Wien Neêrlands bloed door d'aderen vloeit, which was the official Dutch anthem from 1815 till 1932.
In the current Dutch spelling the first words of the 12th and 13th stanzas begin with Z instead of S.
Like many of the songs of the period, it has a complex structure, composed around a thematic chiasmus: the text is symmetrical, in that verses one and 15 resemble one another in meaning, as do verses two and 14, three and 13, etc., until they converge in the 8th verse, the heart of the song: "Oh David, thou soughtest shelter from King Saul's tyranny.
It has been claimed that during the gruesome torture of Balthasar Gérard (the assassin of William of Orange) in 1584, the song was sung by the guards who sought to overpower Gérard's screams when boiling pigs' fat was poured over him. Therefore, the fortunes of the song paralleled those of the Orangist faction.
Trumpets played the "Wilhelmus" when Prince Maurits visited Breda, and again when he was received in state in Amsterdam in May 1618.
The prince thus states that his roots are Germanic rather than Romance – in spite of his being Prince of Orange as well. At the end of the song, which coincided with the third (i.e.Though only proclaimed the national anthem in 1932, the "Wilhelmus" already had a centuries-old prior history. last) English warning shot, Tromp fired a full broadside thereby beginning the Battle of Goodwin Sands and the First Anglo-Dutch War.It had been sung on many official occasions and at many important events since the outbreak of the Dutch Revolt in 1568, such as the siege of Haarlem in 1573 and the ceremonial entry of the Prince of Orange into Brussels on 18 September 1578. During the Dutch Golden Age, it was conceived essentially as the anthem of the House of Orange-Nassau and its supporters – which meant, in the politics of the time, the anthem of a specific political faction which was involved in a prolonged struggle with opposing factions (which sometimes became violent, verging on civil war).The national anthem of Japan, Kimigayo, has the oldest lyrics, dating from the 9th century.However, a melody was added only in the late 19th century, making it a poem rather than an anthem for most of its lifespan.
In the lyrics William compares himself with the biblical David who serves under the tyrannic king Saul.