Flag faux-pas: Belgians accidentally hang Dutch flag upside down

Flag faux-pas: Belgians accidentally hang Dutch flag upside down

The Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo had to issue an apology to the Netherlands this week, after people on social media spotted that the Dutch flag was hanging upside down in the background of a photo of Mark Rutte and De Croo. 

Photo op with Rutte and De Croo goes wrong 

The Dutch Prime Minister was at a two-day summit in Brussels earlier this week, stopping off to talk to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and De Croo. When visiting De Croo’s official residence, Rutte posed for a photo with the Belgian Prime Minister in front of three flags: the Dutch flag, the Belgian flag, and the flag of the European Union. 

However, when the photo was shared by news outlets and on social media, a couple of eagle-eyed members of the public realised there’d been a bit of a blunder on the part of the Belgians. Namely, the Dutch flag had been hung upside down - this faux-pas was especially dramatic, as the upside-down flag has become a symbol for the Dutch farmers’ protests

Belgian Prime Minister apologises for upside-down flag

After the error had been pointed out, De Croo quickly shared a video in which he apologised to the Netherlands for the mistake and clarified that the upside-down flag was merely a gaffe - not a symbol of solidarity with the protesters.

Rutte has since responded to De Croo’s video, thanking him for the apology and the “good meeting” they’d had. “Nice to see that our tricolour is hanging straight again, that's how it looks at its best. We'll talk again soon!” the Dutch Prime Minister wrote on Twitter. However it seems that all is not right - not yet at least - as a couple of people have pointed out that the flag in De Croo’s apology video looks more orange than red. Oops!

Thumb: Alexandros Michailidis via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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