What are the lyrics to the national anthem of Belgium, ‘La Brabançonne’?

18 June 2018, 15:36

Belgium stands for the national anthem prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group H Qualifier
Belgium stands for the national anthem prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group H Qualifier. Picture: Getty

It might not be a particularly ear-wormy tune, but when World Cup season comes around, Belgium’s national anthem is as convincingly patriotic as any other. Here’s everything you need to know, including its lyrics and English translation.

The Belgian national anthem, which goes by its original French name of ‘La Brabançonne’, was written around the year 1830.

According to legend, a young revolutionary called ‘Jenneval’, whose real name was Alexandre Duchet, came up with the lyrics during the Belgian Revolution.

In the same year, Belgian composer François Van Campenhout decided he liked Jenneval’s lyrics, and composed an accompanying piece of music. The music was based on the tune of a French song by poet Eugène de Pradel, called ‘L’Air des lanciers polonais’ (The Tune of the Polish Lancers).

In 1860, Belgium’s then-prime minister, Charles Rogier, edited out lyrics which condemned the Dutch Prince of Orange, and added his own fourth verse. The country then formally adopted the song as its national anthem.

Read more: The best national anthems in the world

What are the lyrics to the national anthem of Belgium?

In 1921, Belgium agreed on an official, current version of ‘La Brabançonne’ that could be translated into the country’s three official languages: French, Dutch and German. The lyrics used for the standard version were those written by ex-prime minister Charles Rogier.

There is also a fourth, more recent version of the anthem which combines all three languages. Although unofficial, the trilingual verse is sung every year on Belgian National Day on 21 July.

Read more: What are the lyrics to the UK national anthem?

English translation:

O beloved Belgium, sacred land of our fathers, /
Our heart and soul are dedicated to you. /
Our strength and the blood of our veins we offer, /
Be our goal, in work and battle. /
Prosper, O country, in unbreakable unity, /
Always be yourself and free. /
Trust in the word that, undaunted, you can speak: /
For King, for Freedom and for Law. /
For King, for Freedom and for Law.

French version:

Ô Belgique, ô mère chérie, /
À toi nos cœurs, à toi nos bras, /
À toi notre sang, ô Patrie ! /
Nous le jurons tous, tu vivras ! /
Tu vivras toujours grande et belle /
Et ton invincible unité /
Aura pour devise immortelle : /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté ! /
Aura pour devise immortelle : /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté ! /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté ! /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté !

Dutch version:

O dierbaar België, O heilig land der Vad'ren, /
Onze ziel en ons hart zijn u gewijd. /
Aanvaard ons kracht en bloed van ons ad'ren, /
Wees ons doel in arbeid en in strijd. /
Bloei, o land, in eendracht niet te breken; /
Wees immer uzelf en ongeknecht, /
Het woord getrouw, dat g' onbevreesd moogt spreken, /
Voor Vorst, voor Vrijheid en voor Recht! /
Het woord getrouw, dat g' onbevreesd moogt spreken, /
Voor Vorst, voor Vrijheid en voor Recht! /
Voor Vorst, voor Vrijheid en voor Recht! /
Voor Vorst, voor Vrijheid en voor Recht!

German version:

O liebes Land, o Belgiens Erde, /
Dir unser Herz, Dir unsere Hand, /
Dir unser Blut, dem Heimatherde, /
wir schworen's Dir, o Vaterland! /
So blühe froh in voller Schöne, /
zu der die Freiheit Dich erzog, /
und fortan singen Deine Söhne: /
"Gesetz und König und die Freiheit hoch!" /
und fortan singen Deine Söhne: /
"Gesetz und König und die Freiheit hoch!" /
"Gesetz und König und die Freiheit hoch!" /
"Gesetz und König und die Freiheit hoch!"

Trilingual version:

O dierbaar België, O heilig land der Vaad'ren, /
Onze ziel en ons hart zijn u gewijd. /
À toi notre sang, ô Patrie ! /
Nous le jurons tous, tu vivras ! /
So blühe froh in voller Schöne, /
zu der die Freiheit Dich erzog, /
und fortan singen Deine Söhne: /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté ! /
Het woord getrouw, dat g' onbevreesd moogt spreken, /
Voor Vorst, voor Vrijheid en voor Recht! /
Gesetz und König und die Freiheit hoch! /
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté !