When in Holland, Do as Hollanders

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Dutch people adopted the color orange as their national color in honor of William of Orange.

Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, it seems human nature to try and blend into your surroundings; perhaps it’s the innate survival-of-the-fittest kicking in. Regardless, sometimes as hard as you try, the color of your hair, the color of your skin or even that slight accent gives you away.

However, there is sometimes something even more subtle (or not) than a misplaced syllable that’s considered a dead giveaway for, “You’re not from around here, are you?” And that, my friends, is your clothing. Pacific Islanders are a casual, relaxed bunch; Europeans a tad more sophisticated than the rest; Americans…is it the cargo shorts or flip flops that give us away?

Regardless of personal style, when we venture out most of us make the metal check-list of:

1)      No goofy hat (literally and figuratively)

2)      No fanny pack

3)      No overtly bright colored clothing

I full heartedly stand by numbers one and two, yet recently I discovered that in some cases, obeying the third is what might actually leave you singing, “One of these things is not like the other!” especially if you’re in Holland. And especially if you’re in Holland during a World Cup match. Warning: If you’re not wearing orange, you will stick out, a lot.

Dutch people adopted the color orange as their national color in honor of William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), who led the Dutch revolt against the Spanish in 1568 and resulted not only the Eighty Years’ War, but also the formal independence of current day Netherlands–of which Holland is a large section and therefore the nations moniker. Another thing Dutch people revere is football (that’s soccer to some folk) like American’s supposedly love apple pie. Or, as one person explained it to me, Dutch people treat a big football match like the U.S. treats the 4th of July. Faces are painted, entire houses are painted and if you’re not wearing orange, you’re either unpatriotic or a tourist. So beware what you’re wearing next time you step foot on foreign soil, it may be the most subtle (or not) thing that sets you apart.

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