Holland may have lost against Denmark, but a big orange party continues in Kharkiv’s main square. Eight year after after a revolution first turned the square orange, Svobody (Freedom) Square has been renamed once again for the occasion, after the colour of the Dutch national football team.
Ukrainians reclaim Svobody Square
On Monday night, Freedom Square turned blue and yellow as massive numbers of Ukrainian supporters flocked together to watch their team beat Sweden to take the lead in Group D.
“All the horror stories about Ukraine that we heard back in the Netherlands are simply not true. Stories about prostitutes, for instance, or corruption or crime. People are friendly, everything is well-organised. Perhaps the buses are a bit old, but they’re good enough for me. And at the campsite, there’s a party that has been going on for days. This morning we woke up with a slight hangover, not from the match, but because of having one too many. Guess, I just have to start again. And there’s another match coming up, which will be a cliffhanger.”
Meanwhile, groups of Danes are welcome by the Dutch as good friends as if nothing happened on Saturday. The DJ plays some pumping Dutch fan songs and folk music before announcing the first Miss Euro 2012: Annie from the eastern province of Gelderland gets onto the stage, jumps up and celebrates her title as if it were the Coupe Henri Delaunay.
The many Ukrainians in the fanzone look slightly bewildered. Seldom have they witnessed so many cheerful and slightly inebriated creatures clad in orange.
Armin van Buuren
“It’s early still, so not many people around,” says Bas. “But just wait a few hours and it’ll be packed. Wednesday afternoon should be great. DJ Armin van Buuren will perform on the big stage before the 5k orange parade to the Metalist Stadium.”
Bas has high hopes for the Dutch. They’re all in their prime, he says, so it’s now or never for them:
“Sneijder, Van Persie, they’re all in their late twenties, so everybody might think they won’t advance to the second round, but they’re wrong: Holland will go all the way to the final, where they’ll beat France. I’m sure of that. Cheers.”