Berne prepares for orange invasion
The Swiss capital Berne will soon turn orange (the colour of the Dutch national team) as supporters from the Netherlands descend on one of the eight cities to host this year's European Football Championships. The Dutch team's first game will take place on Monday 9 June. Two more games will be played in Berne on 13 and 17 June.Campsites were opened several weeks ago and most places were booked within a matter of days; most of the reservations were from the Netherlands. An estimated 40,000 Dutch supporters will travel to Switzerland. The camp sites already have names such as Orange Village and Orange Camping.
Jumping in the river
The staff of Berne's tourist office is on the one hand glad to see the Dutch fans, while on the other hand they are a bit worried. Nathalie Gerber who works for the Berne agency Tourismus says:
"The Dutch sometimes drink a lot and then they are apt to do strange things, like jump in the river."
Dutch fansEverywhere in Berne one can see signs in Dutch with advice on what one should and should not do. The wearing of a Heineken T-shirt is in the 'should not' category. Danish brewer Carlsberg is one of the sponsors of the tournament and UEFA has banned the display of other brands. However the Dutch supporters will undoubtedly wear Heineken ads anyway and the tolerant Swiss are expected to turn another eye.
Women and football
On 30 May the Dutch embassy in Berne opened an exhibition on women in football with photographs by Natalie Toret. The embassy is also planning other activities such as a Dutch dance party, interviews and concerts.
Berne police, taxi drivers and bartenders have received a course in 'How to deal with troublesome Dutch fans.' The Swiss authorities have even found a solution for the most hopeless cases - drunken supporters who are lying on the street and can't stand up: Beds have been placed in air-raid shelters so that they don't have to sleep off their hangovers on the street.
Dutch police to help Swiss with fines
The Dutch automobile association ANWB has warned drivers travelling to Switzerland not to use navigation systems with a traffic camera warning. Swiss police armed with laptops will be carrying out controls along the highway. Drivers in possession of traffic camera warnings will receive a fine, even if the devices are lying unused in the trunk.
Blog: the Dutch take on Euro 2008
* RNW translation (fs)
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]