Marnie (typicalfemale) wrote in linguaphiles,
Marnie
typicalfemale
linguaphiles

Dutch National Anthem

Hello! I'm an American writer and working on a short story about Amsterdam with a cat as the protagonist (those of you who have been to Amsterdam know the proliferation of cats in the city!). I spent last month in Amsterdam with my husband and loved it, and have written the story in the past 4 weeks since we've been back in the States. The story is in English, but there are a few Dutch words here and there. A friend of my mother's is Dutch and she had been helping me with a few Dutch words and cultural questions, but she's out-of-town now and I have one final question that I'm hoping someone here who is familiar with Dutch language or culture can help me. If so, please read on! Thank you!


In one section of the story, the cat character is in Dam Square and hears "Het Wilhelmus." Although I've tried to keep this story as true to language and culture as possible, I am most worried about the anthem section. According to wikipedia (I know, I know - not the most trustworthy source in some cases, especially for languages!) there is an original version and a contemporary version of the anthem. I am wondering which is usually sung at events. For reference, here is the wikipedia page I used. Also, is "Het Wilhelmus" something you would hear sometimes in Amsterdam coming from a church or a ceremony?

This is the section of my story which mentions the national anthem:

Someone in Nieuwe Kerk was playing “Het Wilhelmus,” our anthem, on a booming piano. In my mind, I puffed up my chest and stood with the lion, but I could not gather the strength to make it real. My black and white body, full of hurt and tenderness, collapsed against the black steps at the foot of the white monument in Dam Square.

Dat ik doch vroom mag blijven,
uw dienaar t'aller stond,
de tirannie verdrijven
die mij mijn hart doorwondt.

“Grant that I may remain brave, your servant for always, and may defeat the tyranny which pierces my heart.”


I am not too worried about the English translation being perfect, but more about whether or not to use the original lyrics or the contemporary lyrics, and if the Dutch lyrics above are correct. I used the contemporary version of the anthem in Dutch as it is in the sixth stanza on wikipedia. Are the contemporary lyrics usually sung, or are the original lyrics from the 1560s preferred? Thank you in advance, I realize this is an odd question. If anyone could help me I would be incredibly grateful. I fell in love with Amsterdam, and hope to be back soon.

I'm cross-posting this question in a moment to the netherlands community, but unfortunately, it looks like it isn't updated very often.
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