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 coloured red, white and blue. The red on the flag was originally orange to honour 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 colour was officially adopted as the official colour in the mid 17th century. The Dutch flag was one of the first tri coloured flags in the world and remains to be one of the oldest.