Netherlands fans have become part of the furniture at women’s international tournaments in recent years, known for their marching, their songs, their dancing and being a sea of bright orange.
The Dutch had never been to a World Cup prior to 2015 and their Euro 2013 ended at the group stage without a win or a goal. The wider women’s football community was introduced to the incredible scenes at Euro 2017 on home soil.
Sarina Wiegman’s Netherlands went all the way and lifted the trophy, giving the vibrant fanbase even more reason to go wild and celebrate.
If you have been to a Netherlands match at Euro 2022 this month, you won’t have failed to miss the noise, the fan bus, the colour, the costumes – lion heads and even all-orange sumo wrestlers. Even on television and social media, the infectious atmosphere is palpable.
Long before current head coach Mark Parsons was appointed, he was already a firm fan.
“This team…,” he says. “I said it years ago when I was the fan watching. Every time this team plays, they grab a fan from around the world.
“The fans, the march, the party before, then you see the team and its energy.”
At the end of the group stage, UEFA reported that there was a 22% increase in footfall in Sheffield the day that Netherlands and Sweden, another nation noted for loyal support, faced each other at Bramall Lane in one of the biggest games of the tournament.
“It was crazy to see and we love our Dutch fans,” said goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar.
A few days later, they were dancing in the stands at Leigh Sports Village after beating Portugal.
For the incredible scenes at Bramall Lane, Parsons also gave credit to Sheffield United for marketing the games so well – the Dutch later returned there to also face Switzerland.
“Sheffield United have done an unbelievable job,” Parsons explained. “Someone reminded me of that and it’s very important. They have done very good marketing and getting the message because it’s not [like that] in every stadium.”
Knowing ahead of time they would be facing France in the quarter-finals, Parsons was in attendance for the final French group game against Iceland, who also bring vocal support.
“I loved Iceland’s support against France,” he said. “I told Dagny [Brynjarsdottir] after the game, their fans were incredible. But our fans are another level.”