5 mins

The world's 9 strangest national anthems

From diatribes against neo-colonialism to vendettas against volcanoes, these national anthems shine a new light on the countries that sing them

Anthem singing (Michael Jolley via Flickr)

1. Algeria

Hell hath no fury like a nation scorned.

Sample lyric: "When we spoke, none listened to us, so we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm, And the sound of machine guns as our melody

2. Italy

It seems the Italians still have a bit of a grudge with Austria.

Sample lyric: The Austrian eagle has already lost its plumes. The blood of Italy and the Polish blood it drank, along with the Cossack. But it burned its heart.”

3. Burkino Faso

A potted history AND a rant against neo-colonialism. Cool!

Sample lyric: Against the humiliating bondage of a thousand years Rapacity came from afar to subjugate them for a hundred years. Against the cynical malice in the shape Of neo-colonialism and its petty local servants.”

4. Vietnam

You can’t say the Americans weren’t forewarned.

Sample lyric: "The path to glory is built by the bodies of our foes!"

5. Japan

Featuring lyrics based on a poem written as early as the 800’s. Still relevant today.

6. South Africa

Sung in its entirety, this anthem incorporates the five most popular of South Africa’s 11 officially-recognized tongues: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. And goes on a bit.

7. Israel

The only national anthem – and maybe even song – that incorporates the phrase “the volcano of my vendetta.”

8. St Helena

The world’s first Country & Western national anthem, written by a a man who had only ever seen a postcard of the island.

9. Czech Republic/ Slovakia

When Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, t created an anthem by combining one verse from a Czech opera and one from a Slovak folk song. When the country split up in 1993, the anthem was simply split in two.

10. Belize

Where those singing pledge "their manhood’ to the liberty of Belize".

11. Kosovo

Kosovo's national anthem doesn’t have words because the government didn’t want to risk offending Serbs who live in the country by having lyrics in Albanian.

12. Washing Machine National Anthems

Fisher & Paykal have released a washing machine that plays the US, Australian and New Zealand national anthems. 

Don’t ask why, but rather, why not?

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