RACHEL'S RUMINATIONS!

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Queen (the person, not the band)

the Dutch flag in my daughter’s window

Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag in Dutch) is an annual celebration in the Netherlands of Queen Beatrix’s birthday. But it isn’t on her birthday; it’s on her mother, Queen Juliana’s, birthday, April 30th. Generally it’s celebrated with all sorts of events: concerts, festivals, and always – not surprisingly given Holland’s history as a merchant nation – a flea market in every city and village.

This year, however, it’ll be a much bigger deal than ever, because this year it will be the last Queen’s Day. On April 30th, Beatrix will step down from the throne and her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, will be crowned the new king of the Netherlands. Starting next year, we will celebrate King’s Day instead, and it will move to April 27th, Willem-Alexander’s birthday.

This is a BIG DEAL in the Netherlands. There hasn’t been a King since Queen Wilhelmina took the throne back in 1890.

Part of the celebration involves a song written especially for the coronation. It will be sung for Willem-Alexander and his wife, Maxima, at the coronation, by a group of Dutch musicians, who wrote it together, using suggestions mailed in by the public.

And, honestly, this song is terrible! Here’s a video with the lyrics (in Dutch). It’s worth listening to just to see how bad it is. It starts off sounding like “Moon River,” then becomes a poor imitation of a Disney film song, by one of those female leads who’s moaning about some problem or other, but then she gets brutally interrupted mid-song by a particularly inept rap singer.

I’ve translated the lyrics, just so you can understand the general terrible-ness of this song:

There you are
You saw this moment so often in your dreams
And there it is
The day that you knew would come is finally here
Are you ready?
Can you ever really be that?

There you are
Every person has a task in this life
Done everything to prepare yourself.
There it is.
You promise that you’ll give everything
Ever step you took that led you here.
And look around you
We’re walking with you.

Through the rain and the wind
I will stay next to you
I protect you against whatever comes
I will keep watch while you sleep
Protect you from the storm
Keep you safe as long as I live.

(rap) A battle, two lives
We stand for each other, unbreakable
One flag, two lions
Together in the sun and the rain.
Side by side, chest out
Proud as a peacock, this is our sound
En no matter how small we are
Our deeds are big
Will not fail.
For you, my child
For my father
For my mother
Walk for you through the wind and the rain
And will stay behind you.
I carry a standard with your name
Believe in you as long as we exist
I build a dyke with my bare hands
And keep the water away from you.

Let me know what you dream
What your heart longs for
I will not rest until I make it come true.
And if you ever lose your way
I’ll be your beacon in the night
I’ll show you the harbor in the darkness.
I will fight like a lion
Until you lack nothing
Keep you safe as long as I live.

The W for Willem
Three fingers in the air, come on
The W for Willem
Three fingers in the air, come on, come on.
The W for Willem is the W for we
All of Orange stands side by side
The W for water for which we never move aside
We make it dry and build dykes.
The W for welcome amongst us.
To whatever God you pray to
The W for Willem
The W for Willem.
The W for awake, eating stamppot
Millions of coaches who know better.
The W for always wanting to win
Whatever we start.
The W for we are with each other
Shoulder to shoulder
And so we call out today.

Through the rain and the wind
I’ll stay beside you
I’ll protect you against whatever comes
I’ll keep watch as you sleep
I’ll protect you from the storm
Keep you safe as long as I live.

Let me know what you dream
What your heart longs for
I will not rest until it comes true
And if you ever lose your way
I will be your beacon in the night
Show you the harbor in the darkness
I will fight like a lion
Until you lack nothing
Keep you safe
as long as I live.
Keep you safe
as long as I live.

Really now: could it be any more insipid than this? And I’m not the only one who thinks so. At the moment, on youtube, it has 12,584 thumbs down and only 307 thumbs up.

I won’t be there to watch the coronation. I was regretting missing it – all of that pomp and circumstance – but now? Well, now I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

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2 comments on “Queen (the person, not the band)

  1. Albert
    April 20, 2013

    I agree, If this is all they can come up with, than I am almost ashamed to be Dutch. There was a very funny commentary yesterday evening at the Pauw and Witteman’s show where somebody thrashed the song, commenting not only on the many grammatical (!!) mistakes but also poked fun at its contents.

  2. Pingback: I saw the King and Queen today! « RACHEL'S RUMINATIONS

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2013 by in Life in Holland and tagged , .
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