Experiencing Dutch football culture

I’ve watched football in quite a few countries around Europe and I find the Dutch football culture to be very similar to the English in terms of support and style.

Dutch football clothing

Pre-match drinking is a big thing, which isn’t the case in some countries. Similar clothing brands are seen as well with casual clothing being a big thing such as Adidas trainers and Napapijri jackets which are the most popular on Dutch football terraces. 

There are also several smaller supporter-owned clothing labels which produce terrace wear such as polo’s and t-shirts to name a few, FRFC1908 at Feyenoord for example.

My first Feyenoord game

I’ve been travelling to Rotterdam to watch Feyenoord for 5 years attending games both home and away domestically and in Europe. 

My first game being against PSV in March 2015, before the conclusion of my first visit I was hooked. Not only with the club and the city, but with the Dutch football culture. A culture which was inexplicably similar to what I experience in Sunderland, but also very different. 

Cafe The Hide Away is highly recommended for those planning a trip over in the future which is about 20 minutes walk from De Kuip, full of football memorabilia, including plenty of Sunderland related items. 

He went on to score a hat trick in his final ever game and after 18 years Feyenoord were champions again.

Dutch football stand out trips

There were some stand out trips in that time, 14th May 2017, the day Rotterdam had waited 18 years for, the chance to finish the season top of the league. 

The title should’ve been won the weekend before but a 3-0 defeat to neighbours Excelsior meant it went down to the final day of the season against Heracles. 

There was a lot of nerves and tension from everyone leading up to that day after falling apart at Excelsior but come match day it all seemed to disappear as firework after firework went off in the streets of Rotterdam-Zuid pre-match. 38 seconds after kick-off the whole of Rotterdam erupted as Dirk Kuyt put Feyenoord 1-0 up, 11 minutes later it happened again as Dirk Kuyt headed home number 2. He went on to score a hat trick in his final ever game and after 18 years Feyenoord were champions again, the party went on long into the night and the following day. 

Dutch Klassieker

Another memorable trip was last January for the “Klassieker” against Ajax, Feyenoord’s record in this one is awful, 2 wins in the previous 30 against them. It’s never an enjoyable weekend away but it’s one that can’t be missed as it’s the biggest. 

I met up with a few friends in the centre of Rotterdam the night before and talk turned towards the match, no one was confident and a draw was the best we could hope for. Fast forward to the following afternoon and a draw really did seem like it would be a good result after a sloppy start and going 1-0 down in the first 10 minutes, silence in De Kuip apart from the sound of frustration. 

But things were to change, 1-1, 2-1 De Kuip shakes in celebration, it’s short-lived though as Ajax equalise just after to make it 2-2 but just before half time Feyenoord make it 3-2. Even then at half time I don’t think anyone expected to win but once the second half kicked off Feyenoord took full control, goal number 4 went it, then number 5, then number 6. 

Feyenoord 6-2 Ajax, a result no one expected.

Article by Michael Downey

Featured image attribution: “rotterdam” flickr photo by Rod Senna https://flickr.com/photos/negativz/60882760 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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