One of the local cafes has already hung out their Dutch flag.
At the last World Cup four years ago the Netherlands made it all the way to the final, with each stage of the competition orange-fever increased in my neighbourhood. Bars set up large flat-screen TVs on the square, there was orange bunting and a party atmosphere. Actually not just a party atmosphere – but street parties across the city. Everyone wore orange, including me.
And then the Elftal, as the Dutch national team is known in Dutch, lost to Spain 1-0 in the final. The country plunged into mourning.
So today the World Cup begins, and approximately 50% of the ads on TV are trying to exploit it. The best I’ve seen so far shows some Dutch fans looking for something to eat; they look at the menu for a German restaurants – and recall the 1974 final when the Dutch lost to West Germany. Then they see an Argentinian restaurant – but recall the 1978 final when the Dutch lost to Argentina 3-1, they walk away and consider a tapas bar – but decide against it considering the last World Cup result. It seems hopeless, but then they spot McDonalds.
The Netherlands has the sad record of qualifying the most often, without ever winning it. Perhaps this is the year. Wall Street journal came up with the World Cup of everything else. Netherlands already wins for most number of internet users and the most water within its borders. It would also win for the lowest country but that wasn’t included.
The first game for the Dutch team is the Netherlands vs Spain tomorrow night. Let’s see how long the orange-fever lasts.