First a disclaimer: I am not a football fan, not of any team. But I did take a small local pride in Ajax’s successes.
Ajax (pronounced Eye-ax) is the local football team, and they seem to be fairly successful. I know this because every time they win a championship a group of their fans tear up Leidseplein in the centre of Amsterdam. They riot, they cause thousands of euros worth of damage to public property and local business.
Last Monday Ajax got to celebrate winning another championship, around 10,000 supporters gathered on Museumplein (10 minutes walk from Leidseplein) to applaud their team. I passed by Museumplein on my way to an evening class, and there were lots of police, but it seemed in order. Leidseplein was relatively empty – I think there were more police than people.
After my class I passed through Leidseplein again, by then the rioting was over and 51 people had been arrested. In the process they’d broken shop windows through the Spiegelkwartier and caused thousands of euros of damage.
Local business owners are calling for an after-party to be properly organised in the Arena (the team’s home ground) which is well away from the city, and the mayor Job Cohen has stated that the fans have reached the limit.
Apparently on Tuesday flowers were given to all the shop keepers in the area of the rioting by the Ajax management but it’s not enough.
I’m sick of it, and I hope Ajax lose.