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Oranjekoorts: Why the Dutch have orange blood running through their veins during sports events

Oranjekoorts: Why the Dutch have orange blood running through their veins during sports events

Did you know that the Netherlands are a real sports country? Although we are such a small country, our orange-clad sportsmen and women have set many world records and have won many medals over the years. From voetbal (football) to schaatsen (ice skating) to the typical Dutch korfbal, the Dutchies are of all trades. Have you experienced oranjekoorts yet?


You might have noticed that most of the time, professional Dutch athletes wear orange outfits. Orange is the national color of the Netherlands. Fun Fact: the Dutch national color derives from William III of Orange, who led the independence war against Spain in the sixteenth century. The Dutch royal family are still referred to as ‘the Oranges’.

During major sports events, but particularly when the Dutch national football team participates in the World- or European Championship, the Netherlands transform into an orange madhouse. This is called oranjegekte (orange craze) or oranjekoorts (orange fever) and that is a perfect appropriate name for this phenomenon..During oranjekoorts, there is a general party atmosphere throughout the country. Houses and cars, streets and shops are decorated in the bright color, and newspapers and television are all about one thing: het Nederland elftal! (The Dutch eleven).

Hup, Holland, hup!

It is not surprising that the Dutch national football teams are so enthusiastically supported by the public: the Dutch are known as strong football players. The Dutch male team has won the European Championship once: in 1988. In 1974, 1978 and 2010 they reached the finals of the World Cup, but with a bad ending..No other country has reached the World Cup finals so many times without ever winning the tournament.

The Dutch women’s team has put itself on the map in recent years and they are actually doing much better than the men at the moment. The Oranjeleeuwinnen (Orange lionesses), as they are called, won the 2017 European championship and are the leading champions at the moment. Also, Dutchie Lieke Martens is currently one of the best female football players in the world! Go Leeuwinnen!

The Dutch and sports: a jack-of-all-trades

The Dutch are not only good football players, they also excel in many other sports! Last week we mentioned the Dutch obsession for schaatsen (ice skating) and the Elstedentocht (a long-distance skating event on natural ice in the Netherlands). The Dutch have won an incredible number of medals during speed skating championships. But perhaps that is not so surprising for a country where ice skating on the canals is common every winter.. In the northern city of Heerenveen, a big ice arena called Thialf hosts two speed skating World Cup events every year.

And have you ever heard about korfbal? This is a typical Dutch sport, invented in the Netherlands in 1902. It is a combination of basketball and netball, in which a ball is thrown into a netless basket. Korfbal is played in mixed teams of men and women. In the Netherlands, there are around 500 clubs and nearly 100.000 people playing korfbal, and the sport is played in around 70 other countries in the world.

Are you planning on spending the next major sport event in the Netherlands to get carried away in the hysterical oranjekoorts? Then you better learn some Dutch! Taalthuis offers high-quality Dutch courses at different levels. Check out our courses and see for yourself!