What Is the Symbolism Behind the Flag of the Netherlands?

The Netherlands flag features three bands of color: red on the top, white in the middle and blue on the bottom. The top red band represents bravery, strength and valor, the white stripe in the middle stands for honesty and peace and the blue band on the bottom symbolizes loyalty, justice and vigilance.

The Netherlands flag is known as a tricolor and is superficially similar to the national flags of Luxembourg, Russia, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and France. The flags are distinguished by their precise shades of red, white and blue as well as the order of the colored bands, and, in the case of France, the orientation of the stripes.

The original version of the flag used orange instead of blue. Orange, blue and white were the family colors of Prince William of Orange, leader of the Dutch revolt. In 1937, Queen Wilhemina decreed that red, white and blue were the official colors of the Dutch flag. The orange version of the flag is known as the Prince’s Flag. Some extremist Dutch groups and individuals, such as the Greater Netherlands movement, use the Prince’s Flag to signify their political beliefs. This is similar to the use of the Confederate flag by people in the American South.