Dortmund’s home city is slowly turning orange. ‘That Dutchman? We love them’

That Dutchman“They have a good reputation here in Dortmund,” says Ricky Krause, the 31-year-old senior assistant manager at Dortmund’s Intercity hotel. “They are friendly and good-humoured. Sometimes they’ve had one or two beers too many,” he says, raising his head thoughtfully, “but otherwise we love the Dutch.”

The last rooms at the Intercity Hotel were already booked six months ago. The price has since risen from 100 to 300 euros. Krause noticed that a surprising number of Dutch people were booking a room. As if they had a premonition that the Netherlands would now play the semi-finals in Dortmund.

About the Author
Abel Bormans is a regional reporter for the newspaper Volkskrant in the province of South Holland.

Snowballs

The city is slowly turning orange. The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has secured eight thousand tickets and sold them to its most loyal fans, but estimates that around 75 thousand Dutch people will attend the match. Those who want to rent an apartment at the last minute must expect rates of more than 2,000 euros.

Fans of the Oranje who do not have a ticket can watch the match on a giant screen at Friedensplatz or in Westfalenpark. Ticket holders can walk the 3.5 kilometres from Kleppingsstraße in the Orange March to the Borussia Dortmund stadium in the late afternoon. There they will undoubtedly go ‘from left to right’, to the familiar cheerful tunes of Snollebollekes.

The pub owner, Jörg Kemper (58), with a grey beard and polarised sunglasses, is delighted with the arrival of the Dutch. The owner of the Wenkers brewery on the Oude Markt has done everything he can to offer the Dutch and English, who are not exactly the least keen drinkers, his home-made beer from Dortmund (“cloudy and unfiltered”).

Rensenbrink

Kemper opens the door to a poorly ventilated cellar. Two hundred 50-litre silver beer barrels gleam under the fluorescent light. “I’ve calculated that it should be technically impossible to drink it in two days,” says Kemper. “But I challenge them with all my heart.” Who drinks more, the English or the Dutch? “It’s hard to say…” says Kemper.

A Dutchman walks into his pub.Moguh “men,” Hagenees Aad van Stam, 66, tells the German staff.Where is the toilet?The retired electrician’s love for the Dutch national team goes back a long way.

He was there at the 1974 World Cup, in the pouring rain in Gelsenkirchen – a stark contrast to the sun-drenched Dortmund of today – when the Netherlands beat East Germany 2-0 thanks to goals from Johan Neeskens and Rob Rensenbrink. His brother-in-law was there at the time and is also there now, aged 85. They have tickets.

most loyal fans

“That orange feeling never went away,” says Van Stam. ‘It’s funny, the beer always tastes good. For a while I couldn’t go as much, you know how it is. Unfortunately, my dear wife passed away about twenty years ago. Since then I have more time to go to the Dutch national team. I get a lot of pleasure out of it.’

Van Stam goes to both men’s and women’s Dutch national team matches, and he doesn’t mind. He knows that many Dutch people can also be very critical of the Dutch national team – now with Memphis Depay’s headband, then with Joey Veerman’s game – but Van Stam doesn’t like it. ‘These might be the day-trippers who visit the Dutch national team once. But not the most loyal fans, as you see in Dortmund.’

On the Oude Markt, a stone square in the historic centre, the end of the evening is becoming more and more pleasant. Amid the beating of drums and the loud applause of the Orange fans present, two Dutchmen place a red, white and blue flag on the statue of a musician. When the police, who are widely present in the city to ensure that everything runs smoothly, ask to remove the flag, at first it does not work.

From left to right

Two head-to-toe tattooed English amateurs, who are not the gym type – one is overweight and the other is skinny – come to the rescue (after one of them volunteers his hands to the German police, supposedly to get him arrested).England, England, England‘, then sounds from the other side of the square. The level of humor is not too high, but the atmosphere is pleasant.

But Gelderlanders Fedor Ritmeijer (18) and Nick Broekhuizen (20), both in orange, are secretly hoping for more. They do not have tickets, but travelled to Dortmund. “We still want to get tickets somewhere,” says Broekhuizen. “We are prepared to pay 250 euros for them.”

If that doesn’t work out, they will happily join the Oranjemars and then watch the game on one of the giant screens. “From left to right,” says Ritmeijer, “that’s also nice.” The Dutch fans at the Oude Markt know for sure: The Netherlands will be crowned European champions.

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