National Flag of the Netherlands

Country: Kingdom of the Netherlands

Proportions: 2:3

Netherlands Flag Description:
The flag of the Netherlands consists of three equal sized horizontal stripes - the top stripe is red; the middle one white; and the bottom stripe is blue.

Netherlands Flag Meaning:
The red stripe which was originally orange, along with the white and blue stripes, are based on the heraldic colors (coat of arms) of Prince William of Orange, who led the fight for Dutch independence.

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Netherlands Flag History:
The Netherlands flag was adopted on February 19, 1937. The Netherlands flag was originally orange, white and blue and featured up to nine stripes. The Netherlands flag is nicknamed the 'Prince's Flag' and was based on the heraldic colors (coat of arms) of Prince William of Orange, who led the campaign for independence against Spanish rule in 1568. The Netherlands independence was finally recognized by Spain in 1648. The orange-white-blue flag first appeared around the early 1570s. In the early to mid-17th century, the orange stripe was changed to red but the reason is unclear. One theory is because red is more visible than orange when viewed from a distance. Red, white and blue were officially announced as the colors of the flag in 1796. The flag was banned for a short period at the turn of the 19th century after France occupied the Netherlands. The Netherlands was again independent in 1813 and the flag was reinstated.

Interesting Netherlands Flag Facts:
The Netherlands flag influenced the design of the Russian flag when Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, visited the Netherlands in the 17th century to observe the country's shipping industry. When he returned to Russia he assembled his own shipping fleet and designed a white, blue and red flag in honor of the Netherlands. That flag eventually became the state flag of Russia. The Russian flag would then inspire the flags of many other Slavic nations, and the colors became known as the pan-Slavic colors.

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