Football fever hits Berne
The streets in the old town of Berne were turned into a sea of
orange once again on Friday when thousands of Netherlands fans
descended on the city for their game against France. And after an
impressive 4-1 win secured them a place in the quarter-finals, the
Dutch party promises to continue into the night.
Trains arriving from other Swiss cities, including Lausanne and Fribourg, were packed with football fans. Besides the Dutch, Swiss fans also turned up to cheer on the French or Dutch teams, wearing their respective jerseys and colours. Together, they provided a memorable atmosphere.
Oranje supporter Nick Withag, who travelled from the Netherlands with 15 friends, said: "The atmosphere has been fantastic. there has been no violence whatsoever in the two days I have been here."
He said his group had made the journey even though they did not have tickets for the stadium, happy to watch the match at a big screen in town. "It is a once in a lifetime experience," he said.
For Dmitri Jaeken, a Belgian, it was the excitement of watching the contest on a big screen downtown with the masses that made him come to Berne. "It's more fun watching it here. The atmosphere is better, look at these people here, you can walk around, dance, sing," said the Flemish-speaker, who lives near the Belgian-Dutch border. With Belgian not in the finals, Jaeken is hoping the Dutch can triumph.
Netherlands fans were singing 'Engelaar, superstar' in honour of Twente midfielder Orlando Engelaar during the match, and the entire old town erupted in cheers and orange confetti with each Dutch goals.
Some French fans also travelled in to cheer on their team in the host country, but they had only a Thierry Henry consolation to warm their spirits. Nadir Kaced, who lives in Lyon, said he took a day off with his friend to drive five hours to the Swiss capital. He was making the long drive back at the end of the game.
"I came for the ambiance, there's no chance of getting a ticket, but it's just for the festival, and it has been great," he said.