Women’s soccer has been on the rise for years, thanks to the Orange girls’ successes. For example, 5.5 million Dutch people watched how the women lost to the USA in the World Cup final in 2019. This is still only slightly behind the record set by the men in 2014, when 9.1 million Dutch people watched the World Cup semi-final against Argentina.
“It’s really crawling together,” says sports marketer Sander Malley. “Women’s football doesn’t just have a lot of attention in the Netherlands, it’s like that everywhere.”
Decisions also played an important role, says Malli. “We’ve seen a lot of milestones in recent years, classics between Feyenoord and Ajax and the women at Quib and the Lions’ wins. Even though we’re used to it now, it’s still special.”
Annemarie Postma, author of Oranje Leeuwinnen, also sees women’s soccer growing in popularity. “The European Championship was definitely in the Netherlands. It was fantastic. The stadiums were packed and the Netherlands won the tournament in the end. At the World Cup they made it to the final, which was fantastic.”
Postma also sees a lot of changes for athletes in recent years. “Miedema and Martens are really two world stars. They are known all over the world and recognized in many places.”
According to Postma, the parity of competition premiums for the Dutch men’s and women’s teams also contributed to this. “Women’s soccer is a young game. Those kinds of things go a long way in making this young game even more popular.”
But those results are now a bit disappointing. The Lions will not be considered favorites for the final prize this summer when they begin their adventure against Sweden on Wednesday.
“It remains to be seen how the Orange Lions do. They haven’t done brilliantly in recent times, and many countries have grown. For example, home country England is a real favourite,” says Postma. “But everyone knows you should never exclude the Netherlands.”
Due to the disappointing performance, Postma notes that European Championship votes have not yet fully exploded in the Netherlands. “I have the impression that it is experienced a bit differently in the Netherlands now than in previous tournaments. It all starts a bit slower, and people live differently towards the tournament.”
Regardless of the results, Malley expects the Orange feeling to improve this summer. “I think people always crave a we-feeling. It will be no different during the Women’s European Football Championship.”
“Explorer. Devoted travel specialist. Web expert. Organizer. Social media geek. Coffee enthusiast. Extreme troublemaker. Food trailblazer. Total bacon buff.”