Ninety minutes of hate
Whenever the Dutch football team plays against Germany, memories also play a role – memories of the Second World War and other military confrontations. The pitch becomes a field of honour, with every shot a bull’s eye in the heart of the opposition fans. An exaggeration you say? Not in the least. Thomas Snyder, a historian specialised in the Dutch national football team, refers to the Dutch-German football rivalry as “possibly the most hate-filled in the world”.
Matches between the two teams resulted in disturbances along the common border – violent scenes never before witnessed within the EU in peace time.
Frank Rijkaard’s spitting assault on Rudi Völler
The sting of the 1974 World Cup final is buried deep in the Dutch psyche, the Germans will never forget the kick in the stomach Toni Schumacher suffered in the 1980 European Championships, and even from the Dutch perspective the match on June 21, 1988 became a romantic, idealised vengeance for the war. The vendetta reached its peak in 1990, with Frank Rijkaard’s spitting assault on Rudi Völler, resulting in red cards for both players.
In 1993, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael presented a study on the hostile attitude of Dutch youth towards Germany.
The situation has changed noticeably since then, with football no longer forming a rift between Germany and Holland. On the contrary, it bonds have been forged thanks to Louis van Gaal, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Arjen Robben and some Dutch football fans are openly expressing their allegiance to FC Bayern. What’s more, for the last couple of years the German team has been playing in a refreshing, totally un-German style of – well, simply cool football – that even the most fanatical football opponents are showing their respect. And even the Dutchman has actually been seen to occasionally cheer and applaud for Germany!
German-Dutch football tournament
With “Ninety minutes of hate – football, a biographical family game”, the 4th Nordwalder Biografietage presents a wide range of biographies, describing the sport and its relevance in society via the German-Dutch relationship through their life histories.
This has to be taken seriously but also with lots of humour, and it has to contain the element of a game in the form of a German-Dutch football tournament as well as take advantage of the friendly relations within the Euregio Region to further promote the communication and collaboration. Historical life experiences determine how we value events. And they influence our expectations of the future!