Songs were an important propaganda tool for the NSB. Starting in 1935, singing evenings were organized for NSB members and choirs and bands were established. The repertoire of the choirs was inspired by patriotic or national socialist ideals as were the German battle songs.
Before the war the songs expressed class solidarity, loyalty to the royal family and a longing for national unity. The melodies were usually based on existing songs. Particularly popular was De zwarte soldaat (The Black Soldier), an easy-to-sing-along political battle song with the underlying thought: “Singing brings you closer together, it strengthens the unity and the fighting spirit”.
During the war, singing became an integral part of the WA (weerbaarheidsdienst – the NSB defense section) service. While marching, the men learnt to sing loudly and with enthusiasm thereby emanating harmony and idealism. WA Marcheert! (WA marches) by Pieter Heins became the favorite WA song and was also popular within the NSB. In addition to marching and battle songs, Heins also wrote the ceremonial final salute, often sung at the funerals of fellow party members.
Gatherings of the Nationale Jeugdstorm (National Youth Storm) were also opened and closed with singing. The songs were simple and national socialistic without clear political connotations. The NSB wanted to make it appear like their youth movement was non-political. They sang with flags and drums about wake-up calls to the nation and a new zeitgeist. The anthem of the Jeugdstorm was the Stormerslied (Stormer’s song).
Each group had its own songs: the Nederlandse Arbeidersdienst (Dutch Labor Service), the SS, the National Socialist Women’s Organization and the National Socialist Student Front. In addition to crude songs, the soldiers also sang sentimental songs, such as the well-known Lili Marleen. The subject matters of the songs changed during the course of the war. The songs were increasingly about courage, duty, patriotism and death as sacrifice.
The National Library of the Netherlands (KB) has more than 40 NSB song bundles in addition to several loose copies. They can be viewed in full on the Memory. The material is part of the Groeneveld collection.