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Dutch people dressed in orange before the football match Netherlands–Australia
Women dressed in orange during Queen's Day in the Netherlands

Oranjegekte (Orange craze) or Oranjekoorts (Orange fever) is a phenomenon in the Netherlands that occurs during major sporting events, especially international football championships, F1 Grand Prix and during Koningsdag, an annual holiday celebrating the king's birthday. It manifests itself in the wearing of orange clothing such as T-shirts, caps and scarfs; lavish attention for sports and sports fans in the media; and the decoration of cars,[1] rooms, houses, shops, and even entire streets in orange,[2] the traditional colour of the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau.


Oranjegekte was initially confined to a few days in the year reserved for celebrations of the monarchy, until it expanded to include sports events.[3] Festivities were usually organized at the local level by neighborhood associations and Oranjeverenigingen ("Orange associations") and supported financially by the government. Notable events include the January 1937 wedding between Juliana of the Netherlands, then the Dutch crown princess, and Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld; in Emmen and other places festivities lasted until the start of World War II.[4]

In 1934 Oranjegekte in relation to sports became a phenomenon remarked on in the Dutch media when during the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy, thousands of supporters (though not yet orange-clad) traveled to Italy and crowded the boulevards, some dressed in the traditional garb of Volendam (according to De Telegraaf), singing "We gaan naar Rome toe" ("We're going to Rome"). Oranjegekte is considered to have really taken off during the 1974 World Cup, where 30 to 40 thousand Dutch fans attended every game: "Along the way a new phenomenon revealed itself during the tournament: national oranjegekte and masses of supporters following the team." Even the 2–1 loss to West Germany in the final did not dampen Dutch enthusiasm in West Germany and at home, though the loss left a wound not healed until UEFA Euro 1988.[5]

Importance and meaning[edit]

Oranjegekte has been compared to the Scottish Tartan Army—both, it is argued, are elements of national identity formation, simultaneously personal and collective, and not rational.[6] It is cultivated by organizations such as the Dutch Olympic Committee, which stage events to increase orange fever and drum up support for Dutch Olympians.[7]

The phenomenon is of great importance to commerce as well. Many companies introduce special orange editions of their regular products. Commercials tend to respond well to this and especially during World Championships a lot of commercials refer to the event. Many brands and supermarket chains introduce special goodies during these events—well-known are the Heineken hats and Albert Heijn's Wuppies, Welpies and Beesies. Likewise, popular artists produce special topical songs around the time of the European and World Championships that refer to the Netherlands national football team, usually metonymized as Oranje (Orange).


  1. ^ Voordouw, Wilko (1 June 2012). "Oranjegekte steeds vroeger en steeds gekker". Nederlands Dagblad. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Gooise brandweer legt nadruk op 'veilige' oranjegekte op straat" [Het Gooi fire brigade put emphasis on 'safe' orange craze in the street] (in Dutch). Dichtbij.nl. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  3. ^ Blockmans, W.P. (2006). "De toegevoegde waarde". In D.J. Elzinga (ed.). De Nederlandse constitutionele monarchie in een veranderend Europa [The Dutch constitutional monarchy in a changing Europe] (in Dutch). Kluwer. pp. 127–32. ISBN 9789013037777. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  4. ^ Hoek-Beugeling, S. (2008). Emmen, het groote vreugdeoord (in Dutch). Centraal Boekhuis. pp. 87–94. ISBN 9789033006586. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  5. ^ Hart, Joep de (2005). "'Collectief nagelbijten en hardgrondig synchroonvloeken...': Oranjekoorts rond het Nederlands elftal in 1988, 1974 en 1934". Voorbeelden en nabeelden: historische vergelijkingen naar aanleiding van de dood van Fortuyn en Hazes [Examples and afterimages: historical comparisons to the causes of death of Fortuyn and Hazes] (in Dutch). Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. pp. 52–60. ISBN 9789037702484. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  6. ^ Dejonghe, T. (2007). Sport in de wereld. Academia Press. p. 95. ISBN 9789038211671. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  7. ^ Lokerman, W J P M (2004). Adfo Sponsoring Cases. Kluwer. p. 35. ISBN 9789014089447. Retrieved 6 June 2012.