Dutch Language Blog

Euro 2020: Oranje is Back! Posted by on Jun 14, 2021 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary, Sports

Oranje is back! After missing out on the EK 2016 and the WK 2018, the Dutch national football team qualified again for a big championship. Yesterday they played their first game of the tournament. What happened? To celebrate this, and to celebrate the 60th birthday of the European Football championship, we’ll do a series of 5 posts on Euro 2020 and the most popular Dutch sport. The last post will be on July 12, one day after the final in London.

All posts in this series

Euro 2020: Oranje is back!

Euro 2020: How Brussels lost their spot to host the games

Euro 2020: Oranje is Out ūüôĀ

Euro 2020 – How The Dutch Are Still Represented

Euro 2020 – Dutch Referees Whistling The Finals!

Setting the Stage

Oranje Back Euro 2020

The Johan Cruijf Arena in Amsterdam in 2016 (then known as Amsterdam ArenA) (Image by author, with permission from Sten Ritterfeld)

The Dutch¬†elftal¬†(“elevensome”, (football) team)¬†is generally seen as a pretty strong opponent, that is expected to qualify for World Cups and especially European Cups. However, the current¬†Europees Voetbalkampioenschap (European Football Championship, or short¬†EK¬†in Dutch, for Europees Kampioenschap) is the first time again since 2014! In both the 2016 EK or the 2018 WK (Wereldkampioenschap), the Dutch¬†team was beaten in the kwalificatieronde¬†(qualification round). So the Dutch being back – that’s promising!

Of course, due to the coronavirus, the EK 2020 was delayed by a year. So now we have a Euro 2020 in 2021. The world’s still a little crazy right now!

To celebrate the tournament’s 60th birthday, it is hosted in 11 European countries, with the finale in the Wembley Stadium in London, as it has the largest capacity of any of the stadiums used for the cup. The first games are often played in a national city of one of the teams. For example, the first game was played between Italy and Turkey in Rome, Italy’s capital.

This also was the case for the Dutch elftal. They got to play in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam against Ukraine last night at 9 pm.

The Dutch Spelers

Frank de Boer is the trainer or¬†bondscoach¬†(national coach) of the Dutch Men’s Team since 2020. A famed former player himself, he has the difficult task of bringing back the glory days of Dutch football. The team has changed a lot since I was more involved with¬†voetbal, and knew every player – from Ruud van Nistelrooy to Robin van Persie to Jaap Stam and the best Dutch keeper of all time, Edwin van der Sar. These days? Not so much. But that doesn’t mean the team is any less good! With players like Maarten Stekelenburg, Daley Blind, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, this is not a team to scoff at!

And it showed last night…

We mogen trots zijn


After a rather uneventful first half, the second half was quite entertaining! In fact, it was the highest-scoring game of any European Championship having been without any goal by half-time.

After Dutch star Wijnaldum opening the score in the 52nd minute, things got crazy. The Dutch smelled blood, and Weghorst scored the 2-0 only 7 minutes later. However, the Ukrainians didn’t give up! In an even quicker response, they beat back to a 2-2 in the 75th and 79th minute. Dumfries managed to bring the score back in favor of the Netherlands in the last 10 minutes, starting a nailbiter in the last five minutes – could the Dutch hold their lead?

With smart and more defensive play, they managed to keep the lead. It was the first win for Oranje at the Euro championship since 2008! So it’s safe to say that Oranje is back! And it really shows –¬† with an aggressive, fast and effective play style, they show promise. Let’s see if this will continue in the rest of the tournament!

Read more about the game on the official post-match page here.

After the match, bondscoach Frank de Boer said: “ik denk dat we trots mogen zijn” (I think that we can be proud). And I think that I agree!

Hup, Holland, hup!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.