New coalition ‘will make national anthem lessons compulsory at Dutch schools’

CDA leader Sybrand Buma after Tuesday’s leak. Photo: Maarten Hartman via HH

The Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, will become a compulsory part of the school curriculum when the new government takes office, the AD said on Wednesday.

It is the second day in a row the AD has opened with a leak about the ongoing cabinet formation talks. On Tuesday, the paper said that a deal had been reached on how to proceed with euthanasia and embryo research, much to the annoyance of party leaders.

The AD says that children will learn about the text, the meaning and the tune of the Wilhelmus and that the importance of the lessons should be anchored in the constitution.

Lessons on the national anthem and constitution would focus on ‘elements which are important for the national identity’, the paper quoted the discussion document as saying.

In addition, all teenagers will be given a book about Dutch history on reaching the age of 18, the paper said. However, a call by Liberal democratic party to make lessons on colonialism and slavery compulsory did not win acceptance.


Following Tuesday’s leak, which ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers described as extremely irritating, prime minister Mark Rutte said that the four parties negotiating the new coalition agreement still trusted one another. It is unclear who has leaked to the paper.

During the election campaign, the Christian Democrats said lessons about the Wilhelmus should be compulsory. But party leader Sybrand Buma evoked scathing comments for suggesting children should sing it in class every day.

The AD says the four parties are still debating calls by the two Christian parties for the introduction of some form of ‘service to society’ which all youngsters would be required to do.