The national flag of the Netherlands has been in use since 1572 but was officially adopted on February 19, 1937. The flag contains 3 vertical bands colored red, white and blue. The red on the flag was originally orange to honor the first ruler of the Dutch Republic William of Orange. Since the orange dye was unstable and would fade into a red so the red color was officially adopted as the official color in the mid 17th century. The Dutch flag was one of the first tri colored flags in the world and remains to be one of the oldest.