Nieuws - 12 augustus 2013

My first Eredivisie experience

Don't misunderstand the title. I'm not Robin van Persie II. I will never get try-out or contract from any Dutch football club. I just experienced my first Dutch Premier League last Sunday in Arnhem, as a fake fan of Vitesse. I have some points to share.

An eye-opening break in the mid of the 1st half

Tip for security check

'My chair, my rules', every stadium has its regulations, especially as regards bottled water. Thankfully, with the previous experience in San Siro and Amsterdam Arena, I was seasoned enough to handle those rules of Vitesse: I hid my bottle in a hidden pocket of my rucksack and smoothly passed the security check. This brought me in a good mood throughout the day.

Theo Bos Stand
To maximize the experience with my limited budget, I bought a ticket of the 'Theo Bos' stand, which was not only the cheapest but also for the die-hard fans of Vitesse. I immediately got the goose bumps when I entered that stand: fans dressed in black/yellow-striped shirts were chanting their club songs, waving flags with the club emblem.  It even gave me an illusion that I was in the stadium of Borussia Dortmund. And Vitesse did play a bit like Dortmund, at least in this opening match. They sealed a one-sided win against the guest team. It was jolly to celebrate the victory with the home fans, but the cost was that I had to stand through the match, which was too hard for a neutral fan.

When the referee suddenly blew the whistle in the mid of the 1st half, I had no clue about what was happening: the match was suspended, the players went outside the sideline to drink water, the audiences also left to buy beer. 'It's too hot, so the players need extra breaks,' a Dutch guy standing next to me explained. And he did mean 'breaks' as we had such another break in the 2nd half. I once told my friends that a break in the mid of a movie was the most absurd break that I had, but now I must eat my word and say: 'the strangest break is yet to come.'

Free shuttle bus
After the match I was going to find the bus Line 7 back to the station. But I found nothing but a flock of people waiting outside the stadium. 'What are you waiting for? ' I asked a man among them. 'The bus to the station. It's free,' he said. A bus came in a minute. I followed the crowd and got on the bus Line 999. It was the most crowded bus I had been on in the Netherlands.


P.S. Eredivisie, which literally means "Honorary Division", is the highest football league in the Netherlands. The club Vitesse is in Arnhem. They ended last season in fourth place and qualified for the Europa League.