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Oranje in Bern: random Euro Championship video of the day

May 24, 2012, 12:40 PM EDT

Oranje in Bern

Euro 2012 starts June 8 – and it can’t get here fast enough.

To set the mood, we’ll put up a video each day between then and now. Great goal. Great team. Great fans. Great Euro greatness. That kind of thing.

This one is from Bern, an absolutely gorgeous Swiss town that hosted games in the 2008 European Championship.

I happened to be in Switzerland then (as a fan, not a journo). And I descended one day into the madness that became Bern of Oranje. That is, some 40,000 Dutch fans took the city by orange storm. It really was quite something, as the town isn’t that large, and the tranquil city center is quite a compact space, just a few city blocks bordered by water and bridges.

Good tickets could be had for that day’s France-Holland biggie – for the low, low rate of about $1,200 for a single. I believe that’s what you call a “seller’s market.”

An American scalper told me, “Eh, just hold off for the next Dutch game. Tickets will be going for about 100 bucks.”

So my friends and I did just that. And we watched on the big screens of the city center, posting up to protect our share of the endangered beer supply in a brilliant sea of sweaty, funny-hat-wearing, festive Dutchmen. Brilliant stuff … the perfect example of how Euro rocks, in large part because of proximity and how many supporters show up, never mind if they ever get into a game or not.

The video is in Dutch. Then again, I’m guessing that most readers aren’t that interested in what Helene Hendriks, the young, blonde broadcaster, is saying. The pictures (not just of Hendriks, but all of them) are the thing. Enjoy:

(Oh, and to that lovely Swiss woman who helped us wiggle out of a tricky spot, whom we  rewarded with beers and riveting conversation: I do not, in fact, own three mountain chalets near Montreaux. Nor a small chain of fried chicken restaurants in Geneva. I am sorry.)

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