King-size U-turn over royal anthem
Netherlands' Queen Beatrix (R) and her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander wave to well-wishers from the balcony of the Royal Noordeinde Palac. The Dutch will have their first king in more than 120 years when Willem-Alexander succeeds his mother.
An anthem composed for the investiture of crown prince Willem-Alexander as king of the Netherlands next Tuesday has been withdrawn – after an online petition slating it attracted tens of thousands of signatures from irate members of the public.
In a rapid thumbs down for its Dutch-British composer John Ewbank, the ballad-with-a-dash-of-rap, released last Friday, had by the following day generated more than 37,000 signatures variously describing it as “overproduced”, “dreadful” and “imbecilic”.
One signatory to the petition started by food writer, Sylvia Witteman, said the song sounded like “North Korean propaganda”, while another maintained, “It would turn you into a Republican, if you weren’t one already”.
Since then a wave of outrage has washed over Dutch TV and radio chat shows, and so Koningslied or King’s Song – which was to have been performed live by video link from Rotterdam just after the new king and queen were sworn in in Amsterdam – has been withdrawn by Ewbank.
“Dear compatriots, after having to block yet another insult on my Twitter account, I am now totally done,” he fumed on his Facebook page, thanking the 51 well-known Dutch singers and entertainers who’d gathered to record the five-minute royal salute.
It is an acute embarrassment for the National Inauguration Committee overseeing the celebrations for the first Dutch king in 123 years – and leaves a gaping hole in their programme, expected to attract tens of thousands of spectators.
King’s Song was criticised for its mix of styles and lyrics such as: “I’ll build a dyke with my bare hands and keep the water away”.