The Netherlands voetbal team takes the field in South Africa tomorrow evening to play their first match against the Danes in World Cup Group E. Kesselstrade is awash in orange flags and banners, and it will likely be a lively evening. A giant-screen TV was set up in the town square in Arnhem each evening two years ago for the European championships; I don’t know whether Maastricht will do the same. The The Dutch team seems to be favored (but I expect that locally anyway); a local restaurant is serving Danish food throughout the evening. (They also promise sushi for next week’s match against Japan).
The nieuwe haring is also flooding Maastricht this month. There are long lines at the stalls at Markt Square, and even the local Jumbo market (‘Yumbo’, in local pronunciation) is pushing the delicacy.
The store-bought packages just don’t have the same appeal.
In the beginning, I’d get an orange soda to cut the strong fishy taste, but as the years go by, I like it straight with the bite of onions. I still don’t dangle it by the tail like the true Dutch do, preferring the plastic fork (sorry).
Both the fish stands and the beer stands have long lines; I’ve taken to a bit of people counting on warm evenings to see (informally) where the local loyalty lies.