June 6, 2012

Speed skaters more popular than football players in the Netherlands

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 6:19 pm

Arjan Robben and Dirk Kuyt may be household names the world over, but this year they have to leave the strongest brand title to long track speed skater Sven Kramer.

A poll held by Hendrik Beerda Brand Consultancy confirms this. The first woman in the list of strongest brands is Ireen Wüst, also a speed skater, taking the number three spot between the two strikers.

A similar poll two years ago had football goalie Edwin van der Sar in the lead, but he has retired since then.

The Elfstedentocht and the Olympic Games switched positions as the most popular events, the latter taking over the number one spot, followed by the World Cup football and the Tour de France. The European Football Championship only came in fifth among events.

Outside the Netherlands Sven Kramer is perhaps best known for the gold medal he failed to win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics due to a technicality. He has been ruling supreme in long distance and all-round championships since 2007, although he had to skip the 2010-2011 season due to an injury.

(Link: Algemeen Dagblad. Photo of Sven Kramer by Mingo Hagen, some rights reserved)

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June 2, 2010

Anti-German sentiments in World Cup commercials

Filed under: History,Sports by Branko Collin @ 10:16 am

Among the tidal wave of World Cup themed commercials, a disturbing trend emerges. Several Dutch companies have come out with TV ads that prominently feature German bad guys.

Heineken’s ad is perhaps the mildest, featuring a representative of the German football association proudly presenting earplugs to counter the noise of the Pletterpet, an orange cap. It paints Germans as rather dull folk, not quite the traditional stereotype over here.

Supermarket C1000 on the other hand goes the full nine yards, as it has a Cruella de Ville look-alike announce that she has to take one for the German team. Utilities company Nuon lets a ‘typical’ arrogant German fan get his comeuppance when his T-shirt turn orange, the Dutch national colour, while standing among his fellow fans.

Both Germany and the Netherlands participate in the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Anti-German sentiments were alive in the Netherlands from World War II onwards to well into the 1990s, but kids these days just don’t seem to see the point. Which makes it even odder that these ads are so blatantly anti-German.

Something I heard a lot this year, now that Dutch coach Louis van Gaal and Dutch players Mark van Bommel and Arjan Robben have had such a successful year at Bayern Munich: “I never thought I would say this, but I am actually supporting the German side.”

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