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Countless Dutch emigrants take a Dutch flag to their new homeland, where it more often than not ends up simply gathering dust in a cupboard. However, some of the more patriotic among them proudly hang it on a flagpole at their home or use it as a decorative tablecloth or wall hanging. But what exactly are the approved rules around the proper use of the Dutch flag?
In actual fact, the Dutch Prime Minister has established an official ‘flag instruction’, which is an obligatory protocol for government buildings and a voluntary protocol for all other situations. These are detailed below.
The Dutch flag symbolizes both the unity and independence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and when raised on Dutch territory, should always be positioned in a place of honour. The flag itself need not conform to specific size requirements (so both large and small flags are fine), but the length and width must be in a ratio of 3:2 and the colours should be bright vermilion, white and cobalt blue. The flag shouldn’t contain any additional embellishments such as a lion, the logo of a football team or even the portrait of a royal. Also, according to the official flag protocol, no other items, (e.g. orange decorations, a satchel or baby clothes) are allowed to be lifted along with the flag and it must never be used as a mere decoration. But it’s worth remembering that this flag protocol is just a recommendation and not an actual legal obligation so don’t be surprised if you see it openly flouted!
The Dutch flag instruction also stipulates on which days the flag should be flown. Of course this includes a selection of popular festivities such as Queen’s Day (soon to be King’s Day) and formal occasions such as Liberation Day, royal birthdays, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, Victory in Europe Day and Koninkrijksdag (Kingdom Day). On these days, the flag may be hoisted from sunrise and must be taken down before sunset. However, as the Dutch flag should never be flown on Sunday, if a celebration happens to fall on that day, the flag is raised the following Monday instead.
On certain days, such as Remembrance Day and other outpourings of mourning, the Dutch flag is hung at half-mast. On these days the flag must first be hoisted all the way to the top, before being lowered into the half-mast position. At no point should the Dutch flag ever touch the ground, even when flown at half-mast. And the Dutch flag can only ever be flown together with an orange pennant at official royal birthdays, including Queen’s / King’s Day.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?