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Inspecting the neighborhoods of Utrecht last week proved to be an interesting and entertaining experience. I came across many houses and gardens dressed and decked out in fiesta style. Besides the Dutch flag, prominent props that are seen everywhere, especially in the suburban areas, were pennant banners, balloons, garlands and streamers - all of them shockingly orange!
Orange in my opinion has never been an easy color to manage and adopt. Not many people are brave enough to wear such a color, let alone decorate their homes and neighbourhoods with it. But not here in the tiny, flat and low Netherlands.
I learned about this orange phenomenon very early on in my relationship with the Dutchman. In order to locate each other quickly, during one of our airport rendezvous, he told me over the telephone that he would be wearing the Dutch national color, orange.
Uh, what? National color, did he say?
Of course this curious cat further enquired --- Why on earth does the Netherlands have a national color? This got to be the first country I have heard of that has one? And, why such a bold color as orange? Why not the colors of your flag?
The quick answer the Dutchman gave me: Willem van Oranje [William of Orange], the father of the Dutch Royal Family.
Okay, his last name is really Orange?
This is something new to me. This is definitely not on the same league of patriotism that I normally see with many countries; “royalism” perhaps.
With this new homage classification coined, I expect the Dutch to argue, saying that the orange color is not just the sole depiction of royalty nowadays, but instead, of the whole country.
A good reasoning the Dutchman once gave me is this – Orange is a distinctive, loud and intimidating color. It stands out in any crowd, it gets attention. This, he said, could explain why the Dutch have adopted the color as prime national representation, especially during international football matches.
As an expatriate in this country, and even though my partner is Dutch, I cannot identify myself with the color, yet. Perhaps in due time I will, who knows... I should say though, that this Orange spirit is indeed fun and unique!
Here are some of the Orange phrases I have heard, read and encountered with.
Oranjegekte – Orange Madness
Oranjegevoel – Orange Feeling
Oranjekoorts – Orange Fever
Oranjefeest – Orange Feast
Oranjestemming – Orange Mood
Oranjevirus – Orange Virus
Oranjepret – Orange Fun
Oranjestijl – Orange Style
Oranjeziekte – Orange Sickness
Oranjeeuforie – Orange Euphoria
Oranjesfeer – Orange Atmosphere
Oranjezone – Orange Zone
Oranjevuur – Orange Fire
Oranjehysterie – Orange Hysteria
Oranjeopwinding – Orange Excitement
Oranjemania – Orange Mania
Oranjelegioen – Orange Legion
Oranjezee – Orange Sea
I hope everyone enjoys the warm weather, the summer holidays, the Orange spirit and of course, the Football World Cup!
15 June 2006
[Copyright Expatica 2006]
Subject: Dutched Pinay, Summer in Holland, Life in Holland
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