Thursday, July 10, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: De Wilhelmus, Luxembourg's Grand Ducal Anthem

De Wilhelmus (The Wilhelmus) is the anthem of the Grand Dukes of Luxembourg and traditionally played on National Day, the Grand Duke’s official birthday, as well as upon any official arrival and departure to or from Luxembourg of the reigning Grand Duke or Grand Duchess. The anthem is named after Willem of Orange, who liberated the Netherlands in 1584.

The melody of the Grand Ducal anthem can be traced back to the year 1581 when the tune was published as part of the so-called Oude Geuzenlied in the Netherlands. When King-Grand Duke Willem III and Queen Emma of the Netherlands visited Luxembourg in 1883, composer Philippe Manterbach used the same melody for a march called Vive le Roi, vive la Reine! (Long live the King, long live the Queen!) and it was also played when Duke Adolph of Nassau, who would later become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, visited the Grand Duchy for the first time. Also played was the national anthem, Ons Heemecht.

De Wilhelmus and the Dutch National Anthem Het Wilhelmus have the same historic roots as their lyrics were identical until 1915. If you are a regular reader of our blog you already know that the Dutch King was also the Grand Duke of Luxembourg until 1890, thus the identical lyrics. In 1915 Willy Goergen, a Luxembourgish author, created the first Luxembourgish lyrics of the anthem to remember the Congress of Vienna of 1815 which created the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This move was supported by Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide, but because of the First World War and the abdication of Marie-Adelaide in favour of her sister Charlotte, De Wilhelmus wasn’t all that popular in the beginning.

This changed when a new version of the Luxembourgish text was created by Luxembourgish author and politician Nikolaus Welter in 1919 to celebrate the marriage of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix. The new version was firstly played on January 23rd, 1919, the 24th birthday of the Grand Duchess.

The anthem tells the story of the difficult love story between Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix because of World War I and the troubles surrounding Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide’s abdication. After being perceived pro-German, Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide was forced to abdicate leaving the throne to her younger sister who had already been privately engaged to Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma for quite a while. Prince Felix, however, was not allowed to travel to Luxembourg for a few months after the end of the First World War as especially the French hoped that the monarchy in Luxembourg would be weakened if Grand Duchess Charlotte remained single and thus it would be easier for them to annex the Grand Duchy.

In 1939, half a year before the Germans invaded Luxembourg, a slightly altered version of De Wilhelmus was published but it did not become popular with the Luxembourgish people.

Even though the following lyrics of 1919 still exist today, most people don't know them as generally only the melody is played but the lyrics not sung. Curiously enough, for the first time in many, many years the lyrics were actually sung by the choir during the Te Deum of this year's national day.

 Luxembourgish version since 1919:

English translation:
Zwê Kinnekskanner, de' trei sech le'f,
ko'men ausenâner weit an de'f;
Zwê Kinnekskanner, de' trei sech le'f,
hunn och stëll gebiet datt Fridde ge'f:
Haut weisen si der ganzer Welt
en engem Feld
d'Goldlilje mat dem ro'de Kro'nele'w;
Haut dron s'a jongem Glëck Hand an Hand
d'Hoffnonk vun dem Letzeburger Land.

D'Wilhelmusweis voll Mutt, Krâft a Schwonk
fle'ßt durch d'Blutt ons we' e Feierdronk:
d'Wilhelmusweis voll Mutt, Krâft a Schwonk
mëcht âl Hierzer an âl Zeite jonk.
An op de Fielzen un der Our
de wei en Tur
hieft himmelhe'ch eng sche'n Erënneronk.
Haut dre't e stolzt Geschlecht Hand an Hand
Nuem a Le'ft vum Letzeburger Land.

Mir hunn a schwe'rer Zeit Trei bekannt,
t'gong fir d'Freihét an et gong fir d'Land;
mir hunn a schwe'rer Zeit Trei bekannt,
d'E'er agesat zum Ennerpand.
A wann eng nei Gefôr en drêt,
mir si berêt,
mir halen nês mat Hierz a Wëlle stand;
Da stêt rem fro' a stolz Hand an Hand
Gro'ß a Kleng am Letzeburger Land.

So' werden s'ëmmerzo' êneg gôn,
Fürst a Vollek Frêd we' Lêd mat drôn;
So' werden s'ëmmerzo' êneg gôn,
Ganz hir Pflicht ge'nt sech an d'Hémecht dôn;
E starke Stâm an âler Erd,
an duebel wert
mat freier Kro'n voll Saft a Sonn ze stôn.
O Herrgott, lêt du trei Hand an Hand
d'Kanner vun dem Letzeburger Land!
(Aus all Gefôre lêt glëcklech durch
Blutt a Gêscht vum freie Letzeburg!)
Two royal children in true love
became separated widely and deeply;
two royal children in true love
also prayed silently for peace:
Today, they show to the entire world
the gold lilies with the red Crown Lion
in a field;
today, they bear in young happiness, hand in hand,
the hope of the Luxembourg land.

Now the storm is over, misery is gone,
all mankind walks freely into the light.
Now the storm is over, misery is gone:
Luxembourg remains master in its own house.
After a long night, the sky brought us
a new spring
and gives to you a green bunch of peace.
Let us stand happily together, hand in hand,
Great and small in the Luxembourg land.

We have proclaimed loyalty in hard times,
have stood upright for freedom and for the country.
We have proclaimed loyalty in hard times,
have provided it to you as your pledge.
And when new danger threatens you,
we are ready,
We stand steadfast with heart and desire.
There it stands strong and proud, hand in hand,
The people of the Luxembourg land.

So it will ever stand united,
trustful in joy and misfortune.
So it will ever stand united,
happily perform its duty for throne and country.
A strong trunk on ancient soil
and twice worthy,
rising its strong top freely towards the sun.
O Lord God, protect and guide, hand in hand,
The people of the Luxembourg land!

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