De Vlaamse Leeuw

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De Vlaamse Leeuw
English: The Flemish Lion

Regional anthem of
 Flanders

Lyrics Hippoliet Van Peene, 1847
Music Karel Miry
Adopted 1973

De Vlaamse Leeuw (Dutch for "the Flemish Lion", pronounced About this sound De Vlaamse Leeuw ) is the official anthem of Flanders, a region and community in the federal Kingdom of Belgium.

Composition[edit]

The words of this anthem were written in July 1847 by Hippoliet Van Peene (1811—1864) who was clearly inspired by the song Sie sollen ihn nicht haben, / den freien Deutschen Rhein, / So lang sich Herzen laben / An seinem Feuerwein (They must never get our free German Rhine, As long as hearts relish its fiery wine) by the German author Nikolaus Becker.

The music, by Karel Miry (1823—1899), is apparently influenced by Robert Schumann's Sonntags am Rhein.

Like France's Marseillaise, De Vlaamse Leeuw is a nationalist battle song. Franco-Belgian political tension in the mid-19th century made the Flemish public mood ripe for such an expression of regional feeling. At the time it was not meant as anti-Belgian (as it often came to be seen by Flemish separatists and their Belgicist opponents), for the 'enemy' it refers to is Belgium's southwestern neighbour France, as in the 1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs.

Around 1900 the anthem was in general use among Flemish militants.

On 6 July 1973, a decree by the then Cultuurraad voor de Nederlandse Cultuurgemeenschap (nl) (the precursor of the present Flemish Parliament) proclaimed the first two stanzas to be the official national anthem of Flanders. The text and musical notation were officially published on 11 July 1985.

Sound[edit]

An instrumental version of 'De Vlaamse Leeuw':

Text (in Dutch)[edit]

Zij zullen hem niet temmen, de fiere Vlaamse Leeuw,
Al dreigen zij zijn vrijheid met kluisters en geschreeuw.
Zij zullen hem niet temmen, zolang een Vlaming leeft,
Zolang de Leeuw kan klauwen, zolang hij tanden heeft.
Chorus:
Zij zullen hem niet temmen, zolang een Vlaming leeft,
Zolang de Leeuw kan klauwen, zolang hij tanden heeft.
Zolang de Leeuw kan klauwen, zolang hij tanden heeft.
De tijd verslindt de steden, geen tronen blijven staan:
De legerbenden sneven, een volk zal nooit vergaan.
De vijand trekt te velde, omringd van doodsgevaar.
Wij lachen met zijn woede, de Vlaamse Leeuw is daar.
Chorus

Only the text above is actually sung on official occasions, not the following stanzas:

Hij strijdt nu duizend jaren voor vrijheid, land en God;
En nog zijn zijne krachten in al haar jeugdgenot.
Als zij hem machteloos denken en tergen met een schop,
Dan richt hij zich bedreigend en vrees'lijk voor hen op.
Chorus
Wee hem, de onbezonnen', die vals en vol verraad,
De Vlaamse Leeuw komt strelen en trouweloos hem slaat.
Geen enkle handbeweging die hij uit 't oog verliest:
En voelt hij zich getroffen, hij stelt zijn maan en briest.
Chorus
Het wraaksein is gegeven, hij is hun tergen moe;
Met vuur in't oog, met woede springt hij den vijand toe.
Hij scheurt, vernielt, verplettert, bedekt met bloed en slijk
En zegepralend grijnst hij op's vijands trillend lijk.
Chorus

English translation - The Flemish Lion[edit]

(This quite literal translation does not fully reflect the true intentions of some poetic phrasings in the Dutch original)

They will never tame him, the proud Flemish Lion,
Even if they threaten his freedom with fetters and with shouts.
They will never tame him, as long as one Fleming lives.
As long as the Lion can claw, as long as he has teeth.
Chorus:
They will never tame him, as long as one Fleming lives.
As long as the Lion can claw, as long as he has teeth.
As long as the Lion can claw, as long as he has teeth.
Time devours cities, no thrones will ever last,
Armies may go under, but a people never dies.
The enemy comes marching in; surrounded by mortal danger
We laugh at his anger: the Flemish Lion is here!
Chorus

Only the text above is actually sung on official occasions, not the following stanzas:

For a thousand years now has he fought, for freedom, land and God,
And yet his strength is as youthful as ever.
Should anyone think him powerless, and taunt him with a kick,
Both menacing and fearsome will he rise.
Chorus
Pity the mindless who, deceptive and full of treason,
Comes to pet the Flemish Lion and hit him faithlessly.
Not a single movement he does not see:
And if he feels offended, he will raise his manes and roar.
Chorus
The sign of revenge has been given, he is tired of their bait;
With fire in the eye, in anger he jumps towards the enemy.
He tears, destroys, crushes, covers in blood and mud
And in victory grins over his enemy's trembling corpse.
Chorus

See also[edit]

Sources and External links[edit]