Orange victory ushers in multicultural folk festival in The Hague’s Transvaal district

Early on Saturday afternoon, 54-year-old Danny van Dijk surveys his street, completely covered in orange, with a cigarette butt and a bacon in his hand. Here he is the brain behind the impressive metamorphosis that the market street has undergone on the eve of the European Football Championship. “We hung 58 kilometres of orange flags,” says Van Dijk, a sympathetic native of The Hague with a grey beard.

Every house, including those of the Turkish-Dutch residents, is decorated with orange tarpaulins. On the walls are encouraging texts such as: “One thing is certain: the Dutch team wins the cup.” Or, in a completely Hague tone: “Foam on that face!” Streamers and the national tricolour flutter in the wind everywhere, here and there a Turkish flag has also been hung.

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

The market square proved to be the perfect setting for a popular party later in the evening after the Dutch team won 2-1 against Turkey.

Large screen

A few hours before kick-off, Van Dijk’s artificial turf courtyard is packed with Dutch fans. The match will be broadcast on a giant screen there. “We may speak differently than in Wassenaar,” says Van Dijk in his characteristic Hague accent, “but that doesn’t make us any less. We would like to correct the bad image of Transvaal. Thanks to our orange actions during the final phase, we received positive attention for the neighbourhood.”

He proudly displays a photograph of King Willem-Alexander, who visited the Marktweg during the 2021 European Championships. The international news agency Reuters and German and Russian television have also visited. “They were going to nickname me,” says Van Dijk. ‘You hear Your own Speaking with such a strange German voice right away.

Van Dijk raised 50,000 euros in the neighbourhood this year. Almost every household contributed something and some major sponsors completed the project. “We live here with Turks, Moroccans and Surinamese, and that works very well,” says Van Dijk. “I am convinced that if there were Dutch people living here, we would not be able to complete the Oranjestraat. The mentality is different then.”

In the Aspendos café around the corner from Marktweg, a Turkish victory is secretly expected tonight. In the tablecloth-covered neighbourhood café, which is frequented mainly by Turkish and Bulgarian residents of The Hague, the Turkish game of okey is suspended as soon as the Turkish national anthem is played.Türkiye!’ ‘Türkiye‘!’ sounds from one throat after another.

Türkiye’s first goal is celebrated in the Turkish cafe Aspendos.Image Arie Kievit

Party anyway

Murat Ay, 55, a construction worker, has put on a Turkey jersey. It is a copy from 1997, when Turkey managed to beat the Netherlands 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier thanks to a goal by Hakan Şükür. But Ay’s hat is red, white and blue. When a customer in a café asks him if he is for “the Netherlands or Turkey”, he replies: “Both, but a little more for Turkey.”

“That’s the good thing about this game,” he says. Volkskrant-News reporter: “You Dutch people are only happy today if Holland wins, but for us it’s a party anyway.”

The referee then blows his whistle to signal the start of the match. The Netherlands start the match well and force the Turkish team to defend. The few times Turkey crosses the centre line, the diners in the café go completely crazy: ‘Hail!‘ (‘come on!’), ‘Haydi!’ And every time Turkish prodigy Arda Güler touches the ball, a jubilant sound can be heard: ‘Arda!’ When Samet Akaydin also heads in the 1-0, the decibels reach their peak. After the half-time whistle, the diners look around in triumph.

In Danny van Dijk’s backyard at Orange, the atmosphere during the break is understandably somewhat depressing. There are around sixty Dutch fans and also three Turkish fans. A young Kurdish man feels sympathy for both teams. He points to the ADO Den Haag logo, to indicate his primary loyalty. ‘I am a kankah ‘Hagenees’, he says in the usual fashion here. Anyone who would rather not hear that word should stay away from Van Dijk’s backyard.

In the second half, tensions mount as a goal is not scored for the Dutch team for quite some time, and Turkey even hits the post again. Then, towards the end of the seventieth minute, a loud knock is suddenly heard on Van Dijk’s back door.

Turkish and Dutch fans celebrate together.Image Arie Kievit

The image is left behind

A screaming Hagenees in an orange shirt enters the room with clenched fists and bulging eyes. “Yes-aa!” he shouts. “Yes-aa-!” The spectators look around in amazement at this apparent oddball. But it turns out that the screen in Van Dijk’s garden is a minute and a half late. Stefan de Vrij has just scored. The Dutch team is on the same level. Shortly afterwards the score is even 2-1. And then the final redemptive signal sounds.

In no time at all, the Market Street turns into a frenzied party. Orange torches are lit, fireworks are set off and Dutch fans hug each other. Dozens of Turkish fans also come out, shake hands here and there and film the orange party while laughing. Some Turkish residents of The Hague take out impressive scooters and quads and rev their engines in a festive manner.

Unlike neighbouring Schilderswijk, where riot police had to charge later in the evening because the police were pelted with fireworks, the atmosphere here is still good. Van Dijk falls into the arms of a Turkish friend. “He told me that he is proud of the street,” says Van Dijk. ‘I told him beforehand: if you win, we will have a party. And if we win, we will have a party too. Now look around you, this is beautiful.’

Turkish fan Murat Ay also shares the joy. “This makes Transvaal a special district,” he says. “I think we are setting a good example for the whole country.”

And there was honking until late into the night.

Source link

Leave a Comment

dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus dus