Netherlands

Het Koningslied or the “King’s song”


Since this song had been accepted to become the Koningslied, the song for the new king of the Netherlands, it caused litterally a storm of public criticism, due to his poor grammar and mix of styles. The songwriter John Ewbank did write the lyrics (and the refrain), whereas the text and the couplets are based on suggestions from citizens. Guus Meeuwis, Alain Clark, Daphne Deckers and Jack Poels did write the rhymes and 51 “top Dutch artists” sing this song.

Bildschirmfoto 2013-04-26 um 11.53.06

(© Clare Fraser Née Rolph; a collection of ideas like “my dream for the Netherlands” from children of the BSN)

After all this criticism, John Ewbank wanted to withdraw the song, but last Monday a committee announced that it would continue to endorse it.

I suppose that if they would have commissioned a very classical piece, people wouldn’t have had opinions on it (agreeing with Paul Power, a producer who owns one of Amsterdam’s top recording studios, in this article).

Anyway, this is the King’s song: whether you like it or not.

KONINGSLIED

Daar sta je dan / There you are

Je zag dit moment al zo vaak in je dromen / You saw this moment so many times in your dreams

Daar is het dan / And ther is it then

De dag die je wist dat zou komen is eindelijk hier / The day that you knew would come is finally here

Ben je er klaar voor? / Are you ready for it?

Kun je dat ooit echt zijn? / Can you ever really be (ready)?

Daar sta je dan / There you are

Ieder mens heeft een taak in dit leven / Every person has a task in his/her life

Alles gedaan om je voor te bereiden / Everything done to prepare for

Daar is het dan / There it is then

Je belooft dat je alles zult geven / You promise that you will give everything

Iedere stap die je zette die leidde naar hier / Every step you took led you here

En kijk om je heen / And look around you

Wij lopen met je mee / We walk with you

Door de regen en de wind / Through the rain and the wind

Zal ik naast je blijven staan / I will stand beside you

Ik bescherm je tegen alles wat komt / I’ll protect you against anything that comes

Ik zal waken als jij slaapt / I will watch over as you sleep

Ik behoed je voor de storm / I will shelter you from the storm

Ik hou je veilig zo lang als ik leef / I keep you safe as long as I live

Een strijd, twee levens / One battle, two lives

We staan voor elkaar, niet te breken / We face each other, not to break

Een vlag, twee leeuwen / One flag, two lions

Met elkaar in de zon en de regen / With each other in the sun and the rain

Zij aan zij, borst vooruit / Side by side, chest out

Trots als een pauw, dit is ons geluid / Pride as a peacock, this is our sound

En hoe klein we ook zijn / And how small we are

Onze daden zijn groot / Our deeds are great

Gaan niet onderuit / We’re not going to fail

Voor jou, mijn kind / For you, my child

Voor m’n pa, voor m’n ma / For my dad, for my mom

Loop voor jou door de wind en regen / Walk for you through the wind and the rain

En zal achter je blijven staan /And will stand behind you

Ik draag een vaandel met jouw naam /I carry a banner with your name

Geloof in jou zolang we bestaan / Believe in you as long as we exist

Ik bouw een dijk met m’n blote handen / I will build a dike with my bare hands

En hou het water bij jou vandaan / And keep the water away from you

Laat me weten wat je droomt / Let me know what you dream

Waar je hart zo naar verlangt / What your heart does long for

Ik zal niet rusten tot het waar geworden is / I will not rest until it has become true

En als je ooit je weg verliest / And if you ever loose your way

Ben ik je baken in de nacht /I’ll be your beacon in the night

Ik wijs je de haven in de duisternis / To show the harbour in the darkness

Ik zal strijden als een leeuw / I will fight like a lion

Tot het jou aan niets ontbreekt / To you for nothing lacking

Hou je veilig zo lang als ik leef / Keep you safe as long as I live

De W van Willem / The W of Willem

Drie vingers in de lucht, kom op, /Three fingers in the air, come on,

De W van Willem /The W of WIllem

Drie vingers in de lucht, kom op, kom op, / Three fingers in the air, come on, come on,

De W van Willem is de W van wij / The W of Willem is the W from we

Heel Oranje staat zij aan zij / All of Oranje stands side by side

De W van water waar we niet voor wijken / The W of water where we do not yield

We leggen het droog en we bouwen dijken / We drain it and we build dikes

De W van welkom in ons midden / The W of welcome in our midst

Tot welke God je ook moge bidden / To which ever God you may pray

De W van Willem / The W of Willem

De W van Willem / The W of Willem

De W van wakker, stamppot eten / The W of awake, mashed food

Miljoenen coaches die beter weten / Millions of coaches who know better

De W van altijd willen winnen / The W of always want to win

Wat het ook is waar wij aan beginnen / Whatever it is that we begin

De W van wij zijn een met elkaar / The W from we are one with each other

Met de schouders naast elkaar / With our shoulders next to each other

En dus roepen we vandaag van / And so we call out today

Door de regen en de wind / Through the rain and the wind

Zal ik naast je blijven staan / I will stand beside you

Ik bescherm je tegen alles wat komt / I’ll protect you against anything that comes

Ik zal waken als jij slaapt / I will watch over as you sleep

Ik behoed je voor de storm / I will shelter you from the storm

Hou je veilig zo lang als ik leef / Keep you safe as long as I live

Laat me weten wat je droomt / Let me know what you dream

Waar je hart zo naar verlangt / What your heart does long for

Ik zal niet rusten tot het waar geworden is / I will not rest until it has become true

En als je ooit je weg verliest / And if you ever lose your way

Ben ik je baken in de nacht / I’ll be your beacon in the night

Wijs je de haven in de duisternis / To show the harbour in the darkness

Ik zal strijden als een leeuw / I will fight like a lion

Tot het jou aan niets ontbreekt / To you for nothing lacking

Ik hou je veilig zo lang als ik leef / Keep you safe as long as I live

Ik hou je veilig zo lang als ik leef /Keep you safe as lob as I live

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15 replies »

  1. Ja, raar, toch? Pathetic, I’d say. Utterly over-romanticised. Although, if one really thinks about the deus-ex-machina side of “God save our gracious queen …”, or the Hungarian national anthem, for that matter, this is at least human. But after this, I’m a bit afraid to hear the music itself. So perhaps I won’t. Maar bedankt voor de tekst, nu heb ik minstens een idee erover.

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  2. Well, I think the reason is all this and maybe more. They did expect something different, did anyone say what exactly they expected? If they really would have had an alternative, they would have accepted the withdrawal from John Ewbank. Some of my Dutch friends are not too judgmental, they say “in the end it’s just a song…”, others feel really ashamed and almost angry. – You are right, there is in fact more at stake for some “Nederlanders” and I think we all have to respect that. But going as far as threatening to leave the Netherlands for a song?! Honestly? I think it’s hilarious.

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    • Yeah, you’re right, it’s a very over-done reaction! But some admittedly cool heads here get hot sooner than I’d expect. I think they’re supposed to sing it for years afterwards, and they simply wouldn’t, which I understand, and possibly that’s their reasons of this apparent over-reaction. As if I were compelled to sing ‘halleluia’ each time I visit a church for the architectural beauty. I’d reject it too, but they’re patriotic, so feel like singing, but not this! they say. I see it’s a bit strange for some and not only ‘just a song’ because it’s a real meaningful symbol for their patriotism. Jammer!

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    • Thanks for the radio link. A lovely part is when someone explains that this is the reaction of the cultural elite against popular sentiments – what a demagogue, pray! It’s also demagoguery to say that the fact that the lied has gone to the top of Dutch youtube says all. No, it doesn’t – it expresses interest, not liking. I’ve listened to it to some extent but can’t say I like it at all, and I’m really not alone on that. Of course the crowd is not usually right. But has anyone of the supporters asked themselves the following? He’s probably going to stay king for quite a while – how long are they going to ask him if he’s really ready for this, and promise that they’ll watch over his dreams? Or “And if you ever loose your way/I’ll be your beacon in the night”? Who is supposed to take over the king’s tasks? Ridiculous …

      We agree on everything, it seems to me, but one point: you can’t ask every one of the 40 thousand people opposing it, and probably many more disliking it what we would find more acceptable. Not everybody is a poet or composer, but can have likes and dislikes. It doesn’t turn on creativity. But if they dislike Beethoven, they can vote with their feet. Here, no chance. Or shall I compose a better song? Perhaps I could if I tried really hard 😉

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      • I’m not really asking the 40 thousand people opposing this song to answer – my blog doesn’t nearly have as many readers – but maybe you have a suggestion? 😉 So many are saying what they dislike, but why doesn’t anyone say what he would have liked instead?
        It’s not a homogeneous song, I agree, but how could it be if it consists of a mix of suggestions made by Dutch (?) citizens? Ok, someone could have re-written it order to make it more catchy, but I guess the intention was to make it sound “polyphonic”? – As for your last question: yes, why not. You’re very welcome to try and compose a better song. 😉

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      • Right you are, but two of us expressed a dislike on your blog and you asked us both for an alternative. That’s what I’d find a confusion of roles. If we dislike food in a restaurant, we’re not supposed to take over cooking from the cook there … but in this case, there’s no other restaurant to go to, perhaps that’s why some people are so frustrated.

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  3. No, you’re right, you shouldn’t really try to compose a better song. My response wasn’t meant to be taken seriously 😉 But instead of saying what is wrong with this song and complaining about it I would have liked to have some suggestions about what you expected. Is it really the grammar, the mix of styles or voices or is it something else? – As for the example you make about the restaurant: sure, you wouldn’t take over cooking, but you could let the cook know what wasn’t good and make a suggestion. Only saying “it didn’t taste good” doesn’t help, but telling the cook that less salt (or whatever) would be better, is a more constructive criticism. Well, I’m obviously not the cook in this, I’m simply curious about this King’s song outcry. But I’ll probably just let it be what it is: an outcry.

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