Amsterdam blast furnace of traffic and storming youths caked in Orange marauding train platforms and festivalling through the city. Horns and yawns on vuvuzelas. Excitement, litter, beer, suncream.
People have travelled in. As I sit to take in the scenery around Muntplein there’s a one way traffic to Museumplein – where the big screen is and a hundred thousand dreams could love or die. Streams of orange feather bowers and orange, orange, orange and orange .
Some very orange people ask “Wrr is ze whay to Muzeumplaigne?”. Which clearly marks them as French. In the consequent beer they describe how they’ve driven around about four hours from France to see the action. Tomorrow is a theme park and then home, to Metz, where they also work in a theme park. They are 22 and excited.
Holland is used to being orange once a year on Queen’s day. That is a horrendous noise of boats and jostling dance stages, street parties and second hand stalls. It is a hubbub whereas this has strategy and direction. Colleagues at work have been preparing for days and dancing late the night before in rapture to reassure each other that this could be the moment. This – surely – is it.
We now know it wasn’t. I spent the evening in a Spanish bar dressed in Orange and painted the same colour thanks to the French people who were themselves well lubricated with a stick of the stuff. Liberally spread on arms, ears and face, the Spaniards couldn’t understand how they could sing “Yo soy espagnol, espagnol, espagnol!” repeatedly into that face (their’s were jubilant, sweaty) and it didn’t react, was happy for them. I had the lovely feeling of being glad that someone had won. That it was Spain, and I was decked as a Dutchman, I could not care.
The next grey, mid-morning. A meeting had taken me to Amstelveen – to the south of the City. Returning it began to hose with rain as some Danes – who had too travelled for the final, asked for directions. They had two weeks weeks off work and were hitchiking, carrying a sign that simply said “South”.
I left them with my sign tucked under my arm that simply said: “Office” and without quite the same magic and candour as these two go about my day. Productively and with plenty of machine-generated coffee.
The entire office block is depressed.