‘Holland’s Orange celebrations so similar to Twelfth’

Mezza-soprano Emma Brown pictured with Orangemen, including Grand Secretary Rev Mervyn Gibson (left) at the Newcastle Twelfth
Mezza-soprano Emma Brown pictured with Orangemen, including Grand Secretary Rev Mervyn Gibson (left) at the Newcastle Twelfth
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A professional singer who lives in Holland and took part in the Twelfth says there are strong parallels with a similar event in her adopted home country.

Emma Brown, a mezzo soprano from Nottingham, sang remembrance hymns at Orange events on 12 and 13 July. She said that ‘King’s Day’ in Holland on 27 April is a national event in which everyone wears Orange and red white and blue in honour of the House of Orange and the Dutch national flag.

“So I am used to seeing a sea of people wearing Orange like I saw in Newcastle [Co Down] and also the Dutch flag is the Tricolour [red white and blue] so it is all the same colour scheme. It is amazing,” she said. Her fiancé Ronald Hartsuiker is a verger at the old Cathedral in Leiden where the only recognised illegitimate son of William I of Orange is buried.

“William I fought the Spanish who invaded in the 16th century for the Protestant cause because the Spanish were trying to reintroduce Catholicism,” he said. “So William I is a really important figure for the Dutch, in many ways the same as King Billy here in Northern Ireland.”