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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in the Netherlands Series at DutchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Dutch holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 17, International Workers' Day. In Dutch, Workers' Day is called [Dag van de Arbeid]
International Workers' Day is an official holiday held each year on May 1st. It isn’t enforced by the government, but rather by the people. It’s held for people of all social classes, and was created to bring together the nation’s workforce.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Workers' Day, or in Dutch [Dag van de Arbeid], and how it’s celebrated in the Netherlands.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What is the name of the battle hymn tied to the May 1 celebrations?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
International Workers’ Day is commemorated annually on May 1. On this day, many countries take time to remember the struggle the working class faces to improve their situation in life, and the Netherlands is no different. International Worker’s Day has its origins in the fifteenth century, when English craftsmen first fought for an eight-hour work day. Back then, people were often pushed into working 14- to 16-hour days. But in 1856 in England, employers, or [werkgevers], and employees, or [werknemers], reached an agreement to limit the work day to eight hours. This set a precedent for other countries in fighting against unfair labor conditions.
Nowhere does anyone celebrate International Workers’ Day as enthusiastically as the Netherlands, with huge brass bands, red flags, and thousands of workers marching in a brass band demanding certain work conditions.
It's become a classic May-time celebration with a parade and a speech, all themed around the worker. The parades fill the streets with floats, drill teams, and various volunteer brass bands. In some places, steam locomotives are spruced up especially for this day and decorated, or [versierd], with the most beautiful of flowers.
However, this day was not always celebrated with such festive energy. One year in particular, 1891, is remembered as the year in which Workers' Day was comprised of a week-long series of strikes and protests that rocked the entire country to its core. Citizens even presumed that the Socialists had brought on a revolution.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the name of the battle hymn tied to the May 1 celebrations?
The name of the battle hymn for May 1 celebrations is "The Internationale" or in Dutch, [de Internationale]. It’s the official anthem, or [volkslied], of the labor movement, composed by Pierre De Geyter, which was proclaimed as the official anthem of the movement. Up until 1944, it was also the national anthem of the Soviet Union, or [Sovjet-Unie]
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How does your country celebrate International worker’s day?
Leave us your comments on DutchPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.