15 June 2010
Dutch fans are renowned for their flair off the pitch – wigs, clogs, dungarees, face-paint and flags all play a part in their arsenal. Clad from head to toe in bright orange, the Netherlands supporters ensured that Johannesburg’s Soccer City was even more orange than usual during their match against Denmark on Monday afternoon.
Bianca Kalff is dressed in a wild orange outfit, with flag, wig and tights all adding to the effect. “Being a Netherlands supporter is about pride for your country, you have ‘Proudly South African’, well we are ‘Proudly Dutch’,” said Kalff. “It is more than a game for us.”
“We are the greatest fans in the world,” said Kees Hommel, a Dutch fan who arrived in South Africa on Monday morning in his wooden clogs and wig. “Everywhere we go – Germany, Switzerland – people support us, because it is always a party, we are fun fans.”
The Dutch fans sang and danced throughout the match, attracting the attention of other fans, who posed for photos or had a drink and a song with the Orange Army.
Many Dutch fans travel the world, promoting their national fun-loving spirit wherever they go. Ernst and Ton Meyer are a father-and-son team who follow the Dutch to every major football event. “We have been all over with the team, we were in Germany for the last World Cup and now here in South Africa,” said Ernst Meyer.
South African fans arrived in their droves, also sporting the bright orange kit. “It’s the party country,” said Alan-Bari Coetzer, a South African national dressed in orange overalls. “They just have a great time in the stands, and we like that.”
“It’s their spirit,” said Etienne Raffner, who watched the Dutch team train at Wits University, where he studies. “They are such a great bunch of people, fun and excited about the sport, and the crazier you dress the more people like it.”
However, the Dutch fans feel they may have met their match when it comes to the vuvuzela-blowing South African supporters who attend every match.
“This is the best day of my life, after my daughter being born and and getting married, this game,” said Robert Willems. “The atmosphere here in Soccer City is fantastic with this African style of support with the noise.”
Durban needs to get ready for the “Orange Army” invasion, as the Dutch fans prepare for their second match in five days’ time. “We are all coming to Durban,” said Kalff. “A train packed with orange people, and we hope people will join us for a party.”