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Stockholm goes orange as Dutch claim final spot

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Stockholm goes orange as Dutch claim final spot
Photo: Keith Moore
11:36 CEST+02:00
The Dutch embassy played host to a carnival atmosphere of 150 Dutch expats, Swedes, Germans and even a Welshman, as the Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 to reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1978.

Organised by the Dutch social club of Sweden for every one of the country's World Cup games, the lines of grown men and women dressed head-to-toe in orange started more than an hour before the game.

Underneath the giant red, white and blue flag of the embassy in Slussen, it wasn't just people from the small, tightly-knit group from the country of Cruyff and clogs that came to join the party – anyone wearing orange was an honorary Dutchman.

“There's a great atmosphere,” said Sacha Van Herten, who moved to Sweden from the south of the Netherlands seven years ago. “The Dutch prices for beer also helps to keep the atmosphere.”

Crammed in front of the giant screen inside the embassy, the nervous silence at the start of the game was punctuated with shouts of “aanvallen!” (attack). The walls and ceiling were decked out in balloons and banners. Flags hung on the walls declaring “hup Holland hup” (come on Holland).

When the Netherlands did take the lead the room erupted. Men in orange wigs and women dressed as orange cowboys jumping up and down on chairs, hugging and screaming. Passers-by walking their dogs along Götgatan looked up at the carnage in bemusement.

Uruguay's equaliser before halftime silenced the Dutch songs and there was apprehension in the air at half time. Fans spilled out on the street to catch a breath and mentally prepare for the second half.

Two second-half goals helped calm any nerves and soon the singing, dancing and hugging continued, despite a nail-biting last few moments after Uruguay scored its second goal.

“It's more shock than celebration,” said Van Herten after the match. “I wondered what we were doing in the last ten minutes, but with the Dutch team it's always like this.”

It's hard to imagine any other country allowing people inside the walls of its embassy to watch football, drink beer and party, but it makes for a great atmosphere and has brought the Dutch and other communities in Stockholm together.

This was typified during Holland's group game against Japan when the one Japanese fan watching among the sea of orange was given a good-natured round of applause when he stood for his country's national anthem.

“I would loved to have been in Holland,” said Marleen Flink, who moved to Sweden from Breda five months ago. “But this is the next best thing.”

Jeroen Kok, who is in charge of organising all of the Dutch expat community's social gatherings, was delirious with delight after the game and is now getting to work with plans for Sunday's final.

Although we don't yet know who will meet Holland in the final, one certainty come Sunday is that one corner of Stockholm will be awash with orange.

Check out The Local's World Cup gallery here.

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