Belgian PM mocked for appearing to hang the wrong Dutch flag while apologizing for hanging it upside-down
When Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Tuesday, the Netherlands flag was hung upside-down, with the blue stripe at the top instead of red.
After the mistake was pointed out on social media, De Croo posted a video on Twitter saying he had to clarify "one more important detail" from his meeting with Rutte.
"The Dutch flag is supposed to be like this," the Belgian leader said, showing off what many pointed out appeared to be an incorrect version of the Dutch flag tricolor with orange, white, and blue, instead of red, white, and blue.
While the stripe of orange was likely the result of the lighting or editing used in the video, it didn’t stop many on social media for ridiculing De Croo for his flag faux pas, given that the orange, white and blue version of the flag has become a symbol adopted by the Dutch far-right.
Social media users quickly pointed out that an orange, white, and blue flag is the Dutch Prinsenvlag, which translates to "The Prince's Flag." That flag was first used in the 1500s, but began to be phased out in the 1600s.
A pro-Nazi party used the Prince's Flag as its symbol in the 1930s, and it is still used by extreme right-wing groups in the Netherlands.
The accidental upside-down flag, seen during the leaders' meeting, had become a symbol used by farmers last year who were protesting the country's plans to cut nitrogen emissions.
In response to De Croo's apology video, Pieter Omtzigt, a member of the Dutch parliament, quipped, "Let's just say wait for attempt three."
Users on Reddit and Twitter also mocked De Croo for the apparent color discrepancy.
Some called the moment a "Belgenmop," a term meaning a joke meant to ridicule Belgians.
However, Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, replied to De Croo's apology video by thanking him for fixing the orientation of the flag.
"Nice to see that our tricolor is hanging straight again," he wrote.