The Netherlands didn’t just make memories on the pitch this summer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. The Oranjeleeuwinnen were ebullient on the field – reaching their first-ever women’s final – and their fans were determined to soar to new heights with them.
Take, for example, the team’s group stage match against Cameroon in Valenciennes. Over 15,000 Dutch supporters attended, and getting to the stadium meant an ‘Oranje Parade‘ through the streets of the city that prompted many memorable images and video circulating on social media.
To organise the parades the KNVB liaise closely with Henk van Beek, chairman of the Oranje Fans Bus, who has been a mainstay putting on these displays since UEFA EURO 2004. Among his many duties is acting DJ onboard the 40-year-old bus that leads the fans to the stadium.
“When I see the fans and all that orange, it gives me goosebumps,” he told FIFA.com in June. “It’s something so very, very special. We started in 2004, and it was never our intention to do this, but we got approached by the Dutch Football Association, who organise the walk itself. They asked, ‘Can you and your team on the bus lead the parade?’
“The plan was just to continue up to 2010 – have a beer, have a laugh, some music, and that’s it. But here we are.”
The fervent support and carnival-like atmosphere brings joy to fans and players alike.
“I have said it many times, it’s an amazing feeling,” forward Shanice van de Sanden told FIFA TV. “It’s like playing at home. You come on to the field and everything is orange. That’s just great support.”
Will the Netherlands supporters parade away with the 2019 FIFA Fan Award? You decide. Voting is open below.
Football fans from around the world can now vote for their winner of the 2019 FIFA Fan Award.
The three finalists are all unique and inspirational in their own ways. Discover their stories, sign in to the FIFA.com Club and make your choice. Voting is open now and will close during The Best FIFA Football Awards show in Milan on 23 September.