If you hadn’t heard the news, this is the first time since 1984 that the Dutch won’t be participating in the UEFA European Championship. So what’s a Dutch fan to do?
In Amersfoort, the city has decided to get behind Belgium’s Red Devils with a huge flag of Belgium hanging off a church tower, something you’d never see in any other context. Also known as the southern neighbours, Belgium seems to be the logical choice, although opinions differ.
A whole bunch of Dutch-Turks will just root for Turkey as usual, with countryman Oğuzhan “Ozzy” Özyakup being the only Dutchman playing in the competition, apparently. Some of my friends are cheering for whatever nationality their partner is that’s actually in the competition like Poland and France.
According to the Guardian’s Joris Luyendijk in a sad article about the state of the Netherlands this week, the Dutch national team’s proudest moment, “probably came in June 1988 when an ethnically mixed team of Dutch footballers won the European Championships, beating the all-white teams of arch-rival Germany and then Russia. It felt like the ultimate vindication of multiculturalism.”
Have a look at this English presentation of what it looked like when ‘Oranje’ (Team Orange’) killed it back in 1988.