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World Cup A-Z: Oranjegekte

31 May 2014

By Rhys Griffiths

You may not know what oranjegekte means - but if you follow international football you will have surely witnessed it. In English, this Dutch word means 'orange craze' and at the World Cup it means huge crowds of fans decked out head-to-toe in orange, in support of the Netherlands.

At first the colourful tradition of oranjegekte was largely confined to celebrations of the nation's monarchy, orange being the traditional colour of the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau.

But over time the craze - also known as 'orange fever' - has become most closely associated for many people with the fervent support of the national football team.

Some observers point to the 1974 World Cup in West Germany as the birthplace of the modern sporting oranjegekte phenomenon, with thousands of Dutch fans in attendance for their team's games at the tournament.

Today the idea of oranjegekte is so central to the identity of Dutch football fans that brands produce orange products during tournaments and the team itself is often simply referred to as Oranje.

Click here to see the other letters in our World Cup A-Z


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