Stuff Dutch People Like

No. 61: Football (& the World Cup)


Dutch National Team – World Cup 2014 in Brazil

You knew it was coming, right? ;)

You cannot possibly have a blog discussing stuff that the Dutch like and not have freakin’ FOOTBALL on the list!

It’s a good time to be in the Netherlands: the sun is shinning, everyone seems to be on some sort of extended holiday, the World Cup is playing, and the Dutch are doing pretty darn well so far! So well in fact, that the chances of the Dutch team making it to the finals could be a bloody reality real soon!

Dutch people are (unlike myself a self-proclaimed “football-fan-when-gezellig“) mad for the stuff and take it very seriously ALL year round. In fact, football (aka: soccer) is THE most popular sport in the Netherlands! (America’s most popular sport is also ‘football’ – but we’re talking the oval ball kind) ;)

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) was founded in 1889 and later joined FIFA in 1904 as one of the founding members alongside Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. To put this is perspective, Canada – the COUNTRY- was only founded a short 12 years before the first Dutch football club was founded!

vanpersieOver the decades Dutch people have madly cheered on their beloved Oranje - while dressed in oranje! Sadly the Flying Dutchmen have never been able to secure a World Cup win. Of course, there have been many near-misses but victory has remained elusive…

The Dutch team however are winners at something: unfortunately that something happens to be the number of times a team has reached the World Cup finals without ever winning.  3 times, my friends! 3  heart-breaking times! :( :( :(

8 random Dutch football facts:

  1. Official jerseys are orange (or sometimes blue)
  2. Hup Holland Hup is the most popular football cheer
  3. The Dutch did win the European Cup in 1988 (but it ain’t no World Cup!)
  4. Their biggest loss ever was to England in 1912. The score was 12-2 (Bwhahaha – how things have changed!)
  5. In the 1970′s the Dutch team was nicknamed “Clockwork Orange” for their passing precision
  6. The Dutch invented the term “total football” – a strategic tactic where every player plays every position while on the field (i.e. defense, offense, midfield)
  7. Dutch coaches are high on the export list (they famoulsy helped boost South Korea, Australia, Russia, and so on!)
  8. Patrick Kluivert  Robin van Persie is the team’s top scorer  (with 40 46 goals!)
  9. Zee Germans are the Dutch team’s mortal enemy! (Of course!)
The German-Dutch rivalry is legendary. Here, Dutch footballer Frank Rijkaard spits on German Rudi Völler during the 1990 World Cup.

The German-Dutch rivalry is legendary. Here, Dutch footballer Frank Rijkaard spits on German Rudi Völler during the 1990 World Cup.

Tonight the Dutch play against Argentina. So many questions: Will oranje pull this off??  Will we see the Dutch in the finals for the fourth time? Who will they battle? Will they finally be able to make history?

One thing is for sure: NOTHING would be more crushing then a loss to the Germans! (If that happens – head for the border folks! Flee!!! You certaintly don’t want to be in the country while a national depression takes hold!!)



P.S. Have you got your ORANGE gear ready? Them Dutchies take fandom preeeetty seriously!

P.P.S. Oh…and if you’re wondering who I’m cheering for? It’s the Dutch of course! Afterall, they’ve got a Canadian on their team!

No. 60: Equal rights for dogs

1336990666_da9aa873be_bLife is good for ‘man’s best friend‘ in the lowlands. In fact, Dutch dogs lead an extraordinarily charmed lifeenjoying rights, privileges and luxuries not normally afforded to their furry friends across the Atlantic.

Not sure what I speak of? Just take a look around and you will find dutch dogs living large! Why strut the streets when you can have free access to excellent public transportation (think buses, trams, metros, etc.)? Looking to see more of the world? You’re in luck, as Dutch doggies can ride the trains for an affordable 3 euros/day! 

189900965_aa74dce707_bDutch dogs also need never spend a lonely night at home, as they can head on over to the local pub or restaurant. Yes, believe it or not, canines are allowed to wine and dine in the vast majority of the Netherland’s restaurants, shops, bars, pubs and cafés! It is not an unusual sight to see a furry friend munching on some grub at the next table over.

If all this sounds like madness, you are not alone. Many an expat, tourist (and even a Dutchie) can be heard grumbling over the omnipresence of dogs in the lowlands (and of course, we do sympathize with those with allergies…).

A line has to be drawn somewhere, and it seems the entry rights of Dutch doggies have been denied to the lowland’s many cultural entities. Rest assured you will be able to enjoy a dazzling Van Gogh or Rembrandt without a wagging tail smacking your leg in enjoyment.

Dutch dogs have many a talent and are as skilled as their owners in the realm of bike-riding. Whether they occupy shotgun (the coveted front basket), the back seat (sweet-heart style), or  are tucked neatly in a saddle bag, these doggies can be found cruising the canals in a typical laid-back dutch style.

Who ever coined the phrase “It’s a dog’s life”, certainly had not lived a day in the life of a Dutch dog!





No.59: Canadians

Dutch civilians celebrate the liberation of Utrecht by the Canadian Army, May 1945.

Dutch civilians celebrate the liberation of Utrecht by the Canadian Army, May 1945.

It is no coincidence that I’ve chosen TODAY to discuss Dutch people’s fondness of Canucks. On 5 May 1945, the First Canadian Army was responsible for the liberation of the Netherlands. Ask any Dutchie about Canada (especially those in their senior years) and they will surely praise the liberation efforts of the Canadian troops. The liberation came at a critical time for the Dutch people, as thousands were left starving and ill after the long ‘hunger-winter’. 

The liberation of the Netherlands was no small feat, with some 8,000 Canadian soldiers losing their lives on Dutch soil. The British, American, French and Polish also assisted the liberation in various parts of the Netherlands. 

Princess Margriet - she could have been ours!!

Princess Margriet – she could have been ours!!

Prior to the liberation however, Dutch Canadian relations were already strong. The Dutch royal family sought refuge in Canada during the war. In fact, we Canadians could have even claimed Princess Margriet as our own, as she was born in Ottawa during the royal exile. The Canadian government went so far as to declare the maternity suite of the Ottawa Civic hospital “extra-territorial”, allowing Princess Margriet’s citizenship to be solely Dutch. I do have to wonder if there were any other babies born that day (in the same maternity suite) who might still be able to make a claim at Dutch citizenship? ;)

The Dutch-Canadian love affair further intensified after the war. It seems our hunky Canadian soldiers made quite the splash amongst Dutch women! In fact, over 2,000 blushing war-brides headed to Canada after the war.

When it comes time to head back to my motherland, I am sure to never be far from a Dutchie! According to the Canada 2006 Census, there were 1,035,965 Canadians of Dutch descent living in Canada. It turns out, that you just can’t escape the Dutch ;) ;)


**Thanks to fan Pamela Riley and Uncle Ken for urging me to write this post.

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