Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Go Oranjemen!!

Euro 2008 has taken the country by storm - and this year many of the Dutch have extra high hopes following the Netherlands historic win over world champions Italy! The game is football - no not American football but soccer... and for the first time since the 1978 World Cup, the Dutch beat the Italians, with a resounding 3-0 win! Monday night I went out to Amstelveen to watch the game with my friend Larissa, and a variety of her friends. I jumped on the 5 tram from the Prinsengracht to Binnenhof (Amstelveen). As the tram went through the Leidseplein (one of the main tourist areas of A'dam), you could tell there was a rumbling of excitement. Many of the buildings were decorated in orange in anticipation of the game, and there was an obvious increase in police presence, but as usual they seemed pretty relaxed. In the background, covered in soccer balls and orange is The Bulldog - one of the large coffeeshops located on the Leidseplein.
I got to Larissa's to find her place decorated with orange balloons. Most people were wearing orange and I had on my shirt from Queen's Day. After the first goal, the excitement level became almost tangible... I believe Larissa's words were, "I can't believe we are watching Holland!" It was a lot of fun, especially because of the win.
When I got back to Amsterdam, I joined some guys heading to celebrate at a bar. We ended up at a place called Bubbles just off the Leidseplein - the DJ was spinning a mix of Dutch and English and the dancing was plentiful. I'm not sure whether its too early in the year, or if the Dutch just plain don't believe in air-conditioning, but with the humidity, it was hard to stay there for more than an hour. Overall it was a totally enjoyable evening though, and I'm looking forward to Friday's game against France (which I'll be watching from a sure to be packed, but hopefully air conditioned bar on the Leidseplein!) Go Oranjemen... Hup Hup Holland!

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