Why do the Dutch get crazy over football

Everywhere around the world, the Dutch football fans are famous. The stands full of orange shirts, crazy outfits and even crazier hats. Every two years, the Dutch march to support their team at the European or World Championships. What drives them and why do they get so enthusiastic?

André Stadhouder
October 25, 2018

Every other two years, during summer, the Dutch rally for their national football team. The stadiums everywhere around the world are filled with people dressed up in orange. There isn’t a pub that doesn’t broadcast the games of the Orange Lions. Town squares are filled with fans who watch the games on large screens and the revenue on beer skyrockets.

The oranjegekte (orange madness) spreads through the entire country during ‘football summers’. The oranjegekte really took off in the summer of 1974, during the World Cup in Germany. 30 to 40 thousand Dutch fans attended every game.

Bavaria Dress

The crazier, the better
All big Dutch brands develop something related to the World Cup madness. Bavaria once developed the Bavaria Dress and got a lot of attention with it. Heineken always has some big marketing campaign during the football summers. And there are all sorts of campaigns in Dutch supermarkets. It almost is a competition for the Dutch to dress as crazy as possible.

Even people who usually don’t watch or even like football, join the oranjegekte. They enjoy the games in bars, but are really there for the fun times. Not for the football. Hetty van der Wal is one of them. “It’s really crazy to experience the atmosphere in the bars and squares. It’s almost contagious, even when you don’t like football, you want to join.” The profits for pubs really skyrocket during games of the Dutch football squad. The Dutch are known for drinking a lot. But during these events, it doesn’t bother anyone how much people drink. “A lot of people get drunk during the football games. Sometimes they are already drunk before the games start. But they never get angry or annoying. They stay happy!” Hetty concluded.

Dutch success
The Dutch football team has won just one tournament, in 1988. They have played several finals, but only were successful once. However, the Dutch are famous for their ‘totaal voetbal’. They invented the tactic to keep rotating players over all positions, this way it is very hard to defend them. This tactic was used very well in the times that Johan Cruijff, the best Dutch footballer of all times, was a part of the Dutch squad.

Nowadays, Dutch football is in a bad shape. They missed two consecutive tournaments, which has happened only once before. But they never lose faith in their team. And the next tournament that they are taking part off, the oranjegekte will take over the country once again!

Dutch fans watching a game