The Netherlands turns Orange for Euro 2020


June 17, 2021


The Netherlands turns Orange for Euro 2020


June 17, 2021


After being postponed for a year, Euro 2020 has kicked off. The tournament would have marked the 60th anniversary of the Euros (1960-2020). But COVID-19 struck this major sporting fixture from the calender. A year on, 24 teams play in 11 European cities for a month of the beautiful game.

The European Football Championships, which began in 1960, are underlining the international nature of the tournament by spreading the Euro venues across Europe. The 2020 theme is Building Bridges, from Baku in the East to Glasgow in the West and Copenhagen in the North to Rome in the South. The Dutch capital Amsterdam, as host to 6 national teams, is represented by its famous Skinny Bridge.

The Johan Cruijff ArenA, will be the stage for three group games and one round-of-16 game. The stadium, named after Netherland’s most eminent footballer, is home to the most celebrated Dutch club AFC Ajax. The players and fans will be focused on the game, few realising that the building is also an innovation lab for data-driven development, smart energy, electric vehicles, circular waste management and various other sustainable solutions.

Fans back in stadiums

During the Euros, 16,000 fans are allowed in the stadium – one-third of the ArenA’s full capacity. This is 4,000 more than initially planned thanks to the Dutch vaccination campaign, plus the extensive experience gained in the recent fieldlab tests. Only weeks ago, the Netherlands held the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, attended by thousands of music lovers from all over the country. In this light, the KNVB, the city of Amsterdam and Amsterdam’s EURO 2020 organisation are confident that they can safely organise an event on this scale.


Building on the success of Women's Euro 2017

The success of the Women’s Euro 2017 raised the bar for future tournaments. Firstly, with the Orange lionesses taking the cup it was a sporting success, Secondly, this football festival widened football’s appeal making it a sport for everyone: mums and dads, girls and boys. Furthermore, it changed the football landscape raising the level of the women’s game, both on the pitch and in the boardroom.

Likewise Euro 2020 Amsterdam hopes to see sporting success, an outpouring of orange and leave a legacy in which football reaches out across all ages and all walks of life. In 2021, the KNVB launched the annual National Football Day as a tribute to amateur football for its ability to reach into communities. Gijs de Jong, managing director of Amsterdam’s Euro 2020: 

“Amateur football is the meeting place in the Netherlands. This year we've reached out to communities by taking youth teams to residential homes to play for the elderly and the game from the pitch to the streets of disadvantaged neighbourhoods ─ demonstrating football’s societal strength.”

It is the KNVB’s mission to make football fairer and more inclusive - by changing the rules, introducing VAR technology and addressing societal issues like discrimination both on and off the pitch. Through initiatives such as the World Coach programme, the WhiteCard for peace the KNVB is committed to playing its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by improving health and creating social cohesion in communities.

Similarly, the
Cruyff Foundation has built Cruyff Courts in cities across the world to help disadvantaged children find a safe place to play and develop their social as well as their football skills.

Orange fever

The Dutch national team ‘Oranje’ is keen to create a comeback at its 10th European championship after being absent from the tournament in 2016 and 2018. Players and fans alike hope to emulate the victory of 1988, when Oranje became European Champions with a last-minute goal from Marco van Basten.

When the game starts, the streets turn quiet. Only to erupt into cheers celebrating each goal. Gradually, as the tournament progresses, the Netherlands turns orange as football fever takes over the hearts, streets and minds of Dutch denizens. Only proving that football is still the most important of the less important things in the world.

NL Sports Summer: the games are back on!

2020 saw the cancellation of many sports events, but in 2021, the games are back on!

Whether you are into football, tennis, cycling, the Olympics, or all of the above, join us in supporting TeamNL! Keep an eye on the platform and our social media for bingo, giveaways and lots of cheering and celebrating.

More about our NL Sports Summer.

Photo: fans watching live screenings, pre-COVID times