As Germany prepare to face Holland, FFT looks back to Euro 2004 when the two teams met in Porto's Estadio do Dragao. In a More Than A Game special, we presented two views Ã¢ÂÂ the Dutch and the German Ã¢ÂÂ on this great, historic rivalry.
Fittingly, the two sides matched each other blow-for-blow that night in Portugal. Neither side has defeated the other since 2002, when Holland prevailed 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen (Germany's last win was in 1996). As both teams look to change that, we remember what makes Holland v Germany such a momentous fixture; a true battle, it seems, of good versus evil.
THE GERMAN VIEWPOINTby Uli Hesse, author of Tor! The Story of German Football
Two hours after Feyenoord had beaten Ã¢ÂÂ¨Borussia Dortmund 3-2 to lift the 2002 UEFA Cup, I was steering my car through the streets of Rotterdam, trying to leave the place behind as quickly as possible, when the mobile rang.
My friend Bernd had gone to the game on a chartered coach with other Dortmund fans. He knew I was on my own and that I must have left the ground late on account of the press conference. Which is why he feared for my life and limb. Ã¢ÂÂYou know,Ã¢ÂÂ he said, Ã¢ÂÂthe sad thing is not that we lost, but that Ã¢ÂÂ¨everybody on this coach is glad we did. Otherwise we wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have gotten out alive.Ã¢ÂÂ
That morning, IÃ¢ÂÂd left my car on the other side of town, because when I called the club to ask about parking, a nice woman told me it wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be safe if it carried a German licence plate.
Then I strolled through the southern part of Rotterdam all day, ignoring police advice that no German should cross the river.
Around noon I saw a Dortmund coach that had lost its way. An elderly Dutchman lifted a small child onto his shoulders so the kid could give the finger to the Germans while men in Feyenoord shirts came running out of a bar, looking for something to hurl at the coach.
Later, I heard that a train carrying German supporters had been shot at with Ã¢ÂÂ¨a rifle and during the match Feyenoord fans fired rockets into the Dortmund stand.
The last time Dortmund had played in Rotterdam, in September 1999, no German fans had made the trip because the club Ã¢ÂÂ¨considered it too risky. It may have been an Ã¢ÂÂ¨over-reaction, but fresh in the memory was Ã¢ÂÂ¨a Feyenoord visit to Bayer Leverkusen that resulted in ÃÂ£180,000 worth of damage as 500 Dutch fans ran riot, smashing whatever was within reach and setting fire to a ticket booth. The police of North Rhine-Westphalia later announced that a third of all football-related arrests in the 1998-99 season had been made at this one game. It was a friendly.
And itÃ¢ÂÂs not just Feyenoord. Six months after the Leverkusen riots, Cologne played Ã¢ÂÂ¨a pre-season match in the Dutch city of Groesbeek against Nijmegen. When the Germans made it 3-3, the stand with their 300 fans was invaded by thugs. Ã¢ÂÂPeople could have been killed,Ã¢ÂÂ gasped a pale Ewald Lienen, then coaching Cologne.
Ajax and Utrecht fans show their violent side in 2002
Nor is it just football. Last September, German third Ã¢ÂÂ¨division ice hockey club Ratingen Aliens played host to a team from across the border, the Eaters Geleen. One local paper spoke of Ã¢ÂÂunimaginable hunting scenesÃ¢ÂÂ, saying the visitors had Ã¢ÂÂsullied the sportÃ¢ÂÂs image in an unprecedented mannerÃ¢ÂÂ. Ice hockey is no game for sensitive souls, but 1,000 people chanted Ã¢ÂÂStop this!Ã¢ÂÂ as the Dutch ran amok. After 16 minutes, Ratingen came off the ice.
As far as Germans are Ã¢ÂÂ¨concerned, you can sum up the situation in two statements. First, Holland-Germany is one of the most heated Ã¢ÂÂ¨rivalries in Europe. Second, the mentally unstable party in this explosive relationship are the Dutch. They not only started this rivalry, they have also carried it to a point where it is obsessive, almost psychotic. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂve played a few friendlies against Dutch teams,Ã¢ÂÂ says BochumÃ¢ÂÂs goalkeeper with a dry smile. Ã¢ÂÂAnd weÃ¢ÂÂve been lucky enough to get out of them without major injuries.Ã¢ÂÂ His name is Rein van Duijnhoven. HeÃ¢ÂÂs Dutch himself.
Yet this second assumption, that itÃ¢ÂÂs our Ã¢ÂÂ¨neighbours who go over the top, will be taken with a grain of salt by anyone who was in Munich the day England won 5-1.
One of the most crushing defeats in our history seemed forgotten the instant news came through that Ireland had beaten Holland. For the next Ã¢ÂÂ¨10 months, the most popular chant at German grounds was: Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre going to the World Cup without Holland.Ã¢ÂÂ There was even an Ã¢ÂÂ¨(unexpectedly humorous) website called 'YouÃ¢ÂÂre not there', with an online game where users could knock down orange-clad players by throwing spliffs or clogs at them.
But the German reaction is not always so light-hearted, and itÃ¢ÂÂs not always merely Ã¢ÂÂ¨a reaction. As early as 1989, there was trouble in Rotterdam when German firms used the occasion of a World Cup qualifier to Ã¢ÂÂinvade enemy territoryÃ¢ÂÂ, as they dubbed it on leaflets. Six years later, Bayer Leverkusen and PSV Eindhoven fans fought, not least because, as a Leverkusen fanÃ¢ÂÂs online diary notes, Ã¢ÂÂthe Germans knew how to provoke the DutchÃ¢ÂÂ. For instance by yelling, Ã¢ÂÂHooray, hooray, the Germans are hereÃ¢ÂÂ, which will sound more ominous to Dutch ears than to some.
What is true is that the Dutch created this rivalry. And for a while the Germans even failed to notice what was happening...
A German hooligan is tackled by Dutch police in 1996
During the first decades of its existence, the German national team, established in 1908, played Holland more often than any other side, save Switzerland. Germany usually lost, but it didnÃ¢ÂÂt rile them. Mainly because they were Ã¢ÂÂ¨beaten by all sorts of teams, but also because Holland was a small Ã¢ÂÂ¨country that kept a low profile. France was a different matter. When Germany and Holland drew 2-2 in November 1927, it was the 11th game between the two sides Ã¢ÂÂ the first Germany-France meeting would not be agreed upon for another three years, such were the enmities.
After WWII, things changed. Reconciling the French with the Germans became a major political issue, and while it would take a long time, it was so Ã¢ÂÂ¨successful that even Harald SchumacherÃ¢ÂÂs dreadful foul on Patrick Battiston at the 1982 World Cup didnÃ¢ÂÂt lead to anything nasty. The simmering resentment of the Dutch, Ã¢ÂÂ¨meanwhile, went unnoticed. And it didnÃ¢ÂÂt help that the Germans were suddenly becoming Ã¢ÂÂ¨a footballing super power.
In 1956, Holland beat the World Cup holders, but it was a misleading result. The next four matches against the Dutch were all won, beginning with a 2-1 in 1957. In 1959, Uwe Seeler scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 rout that allowed the Germans to finally draw even in the overall record between the two sides. In 1966, Franz Beckenbauer netted two as his team won 4-2 in Rotterdam. Then, in 1974, Bernd HÃÂ¶lzenbein went down and referee Jack Taylor pointed to the spot...
Almost 30 years on, Beckenbauer attended an official banquet with HÃÂ¶lzenbein and recounted the story of how the latter had won his Frankfurt team a crucial penalty against Bayern in the German Cup semi-final of 1974 by running against a defenderÃ¢ÂÂs outstretched leg. Then he addressed the culprit: Ã¢ÂÂBut you made up for that in the summer, when you went down again.Ã¢ÂÂ It was one of those quips Beckenbauer distributes like sweets, but HÃÂ¶lzenbein had a sour look on his face.
Many people in Germany will tell you that HÃÂ¶lzenbein dived in the 1974 World Cup final. Even more will say the Dutch were undeniably the best team at that tournament. Still, it took those same people years to realise how painfully the Dutch felt the thorn. Maybe because West Germany had often been hard done by in the preceding decades without thirsting for revenge (Gothenburg 1958, Wembley 1966, Mexico City 1970). Maybe because it was only Holland.
Gerd Muller scores the winner to break Oranje hearts
The first signs that something was up came four years later when the teams drew 2-2 at the 1978 World Cup, and HollandÃ¢ÂÂs Dick Nanninga was sent off after a row with HÃÂ¶lzenbein. Ã¢ÂÂHe grabbed me by the nose so I pushed himÃ¢ÂÂ was how Nanninga described the incident. But HÃÂ¶lzenbein said: Ã¢ÂÂWhen the ref was looking away, he hit me in the stomach. For no Ã¢ÂÂ¨reason! ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why I grabbed him.Ã¢ÂÂ
A similar incident took place at Euro 1980. The Germans won 3-2, but the talking point came when Schumacher and Johnny Rep went up for Ã¢ÂÂ¨a cross, and the Dutchman hit the keeper in the abdomen. Schumacher was so enraged that a sub was placed behind his goal to calm him down. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge noted that games between the two countries were having Ã¢ÂÂan electrifying effectÃ¢ÂÂ.
On the day in June 1988 when the Dutch finally Ã¢ÂÂ¨exorcised their demons, Ã¢ÂÂ¨beating West Germany for Ã¢ÂÂ¨the first time in 32 years, the rivalry spilled over for good. The Germans were hit so hard by losing the semi-final of Euro 88 on home soil that they didnÃ¢ÂÂt leave the dressing room for half an hour after the final whistle. Ã¢ÂÂI had to lift my players,Ã¢ÂÂ said Franz Beckenbauer, looking as if he could use some help himself. Ã¢ÂÂIt was no penalty. Never.Ã¢ÂÂ He didnÃ¢ÂÂt mention that the Germans had led through an equally dubious penalty, but he didnÃ¢ÂÂt have to. What counted was the image of 15,000 delirious Dutch fans celebrating their victory in Hamburg.
Beckenbauer, who had played when games between West Germany and Holland were just games, boarded the Dutch coach to give his regards to the winners, but most of his players didnÃ¢ÂÂt even shake hands with the opposition. They must have felt the Dutch had gone stark raving mad, from throwing insidious punches to chanting about the Nazis. Enough was enough. Yet there was another, subtler aspect to the matter: the verdict of the Dutch newspaper which called the West German team Ã¢ÂÂpoor graftersÃ¢ÂÂ. David had not only won, did not only feel morally superior Ã¢ÂÂ he was also very simply better than Goliath.
Which is why a game that many have Ã¢ÂÂ¨forgotten lives on in GermanyÃ¢ÂÂs collective football memory as one of the 10 greatest in our history: the 2-1 win over Holland at Italia 90. The Dutch still had their masters of the delicate touch. We had Augenthaler, Kohler, Brehme and Buchwald. But when Frank Rijkaard repeatedly spat at Rudi VÃÂ¶ller,Ã¢ÂÂ¨ resulting in a red card for him and, bizarrely, the innocent German, the match took on mythic proportions. Jurgen Klinsmann, now alone up front, ran his lungs out and would collapse after the final whistle. Buchwald made the first goal with a double stepover. Brehme scored the second with a stunning swerving shot. Then the Argentinian ref awarded the Dutch a silly penalty, whereupon the German TV commentator yelled: Ã¢ÂÂSend that man back to the pampas!Ã¢ÂÂ In brief:Ã¢ÂÂit was perfect.
Since then, you canÃ¢ÂÂt help but feel that the Germans have begun to take the rivalry more seriously than those who started it. In November 1998, the teams drew 1-1 in Gelsenkirchen Ã¢ÂÂ but only because the Dutch werenÃ¢ÂÂt fired up. Ã¢ÂÂAt times they showed us up, even though they didnÃ¢ÂÂt have their first team,Ã¢ÂÂ said Jupp Heynckes. Horst Hrubesch said: Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂI was shocked how they dominated us in the first half.Ã¢ÂÂ And HÃÂ¶lzenbein added: Ã¢ÂÂIt seems German football is in a crisis.Ã¢ÂÂ
Six years on, it still is. There are serious doubts that Germany can perform at the same level as Holland, which is why the teamsÃ¢ÂÂ opening game at Euro 2004 will be crucial. Another marvel along the lines of 1990 would again exorcise demons Ã¢ÂÂ not ones haunting the Dutch but those plaguing Germans. Like the Dortmund fans thinking how lucky they had been to lose a final in Rotterdam.
Louis van Gaal: bringing Holland and Germany together, sort of
THE DUTCH VIEWPOINTby Simon Kuper, author of (among other books) Ajax, The Dutch, The War
The match I hope to be watching on DVD on my deathbed is West Germany v Holland of June 21, 1988. On that summer evening in Hamburg, the Dutch played some of the best football of the era Ã¢ÂÂ think Marco van Basten, Ronald Koeman, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit all at their peak simultaneously Ã¢ÂÂ and Van Basten won it with an improbable Ã¢ÂÂ¨sliding goal three minutes from time.
Back in Holland, the staid nation surprised itself: on a Tuesday night, nine million Ã¢ÂÂ¨people, 60 percent of the population, Ã¢ÂÂ¨celebrated on the streets. It was the largest public gathering since the Liberation. Ã¢ÂÂIt feels as though weÃ¢ÂÂve won the war at last,Ã¢ÂÂ said Ã¢ÂÂ¨a former Resistance fighter on TV.
Ger Blok, a 58-year-old Dutchman, heard the news in Tegucicalpa, where he was Ã¢ÂÂ¨managing Honduras. He ran through the streets carrying a Dutch flag. Ã¢ÂÂHysterical, intensely happy,Ã¢ÂÂ he said. Ã¢ÂÂThe next day I was ashamed of my laughable behaviour.Ã¢ÂÂ In the Leidseplein square in Amsterdam, people threw bicycles (their own?) into the air and shouted, Ã¢ÂÂHurray, weÃ¢ÂÂve got our bikes back!Ã¢ÂÂ During the Occupation, the Germans had confiscated all Dutch bicycles.
Ã¢ÂÂWhen Holland scores I dance through the room,Ã¢ÂÂ said Professor Dr L de Jong, a dusty grey man who had spent the last 40 years Ã¢ÂÂ¨writing the official history of the Netherlands in World War II in umpteen volumes. Ã¢ÂÂWhat these boys have done! Of course itÃ¢ÂÂs got to do with the war. Strange that people deny that.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ronald Koeman revealed that after the match he had wiped his backside on the German shirt he had swapped with Olaf Thon. HollandÃ¢ÂÂs manager Rinus Michels, the man who coined the phrase, Ã¢ÂÂFootball is warÃ¢ÂÂ, admitted to Ã¢ÂÂan extra feeling of satisfaction for reasons I donÃ¢ÂÂt want to sum up now.Ã¢ÂÂ Emerging from the tunnel for the second half to jeers from the German crowd, Michels had raised a dignified middle finger.
Michels surveys the battlefield four years later
It is tempting to think that Van Basten (who refused to speak German in interviews) had unleashed a nationÃ¢ÂÂs war traumas by scoring in Hamburg, but he did not. The war has less to do with this rivalry than one would think. Before Hamburg, few Dutchmen felt that strongly about Germans. Certainly there was distaste. I lived in Holland for 10 years as Ã¢ÂÂ¨a child from 1976, in Leiden near the North Sea, and I could see that German tourists were not greatly popular Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂHow do the Germans celebrate the invasion of Europe?Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂBy doing it again every summerÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ but when
England played West Germany in 1982, most of the teenage boys in my class supported the Germans. The fact was that until 1988 the football rivalry barely existed.
Before the war, the Dutch had been Ã¢ÂÂ¨mostly philo-Germanic. Many of them spoke excellent German, the way they now speak excellent English, and Dutch books and Ã¢ÂÂ¨magazines of the time were full of throwaway quotes from Goethe and Schiller.
After that, from the 1950s until 1970, there was no hope of rivalling Germany: it was Ã¢ÂÂ¨a great footballing nation, while the Dutch were pathetic. This was the era of defeats to Luxembourg, and never qualifying for World Cups or European Championships. The big rival in those days was Belgium.
Then suddenly, in 1974, Holland were Ã¢ÂÂ¨facing Germany in the World Cup final. No doubt some of the Dutch players that day in Munich had the war in mind. As a baby, Willem van Hanegem, HollandÃ¢ÂÂs left-half, lost his father and 10-year-old brother Ã¢ÂÂ¨during a British bombardment of his village on September 11 1944. Ruud Krol, the left-back, was the son of one of the few Dutchmen who really had been in the Resistance as opposed to just boasting about it after the war.
In 1999, I visited Ã¢ÂÂKukiÃ¢ÂÂ Krol in Amsterdam. A tiny man, his right foot encased in an Ã¢ÂÂ¨outsized boot, Kuki looked nothing like his handsome son. On a table in his living room stood a framed photograph: a dead young man, his brillantined hair combed backwards in the fashion of the 1940s. At the time he had worked in KrolÃ¢ÂÂs shop.
Ã¢ÂÂSome were lucky,Ã¢ÂÂ said Krol, Ã¢ÂÂbut not him. One day the German secret police raided my shop. They came for me, but they found him. He was in the Communist Resistance. They put him against the wall, his hands by his sides, and his bad luck was that he had three Ã¢ÂÂ¨identity cards on him that day. He never came back. But they came for me.Ã¢ÂÂ
Krol told me that at one point during the war, he had hidden 13 Jews above a cafÃÂ© in Amsterdam. But he had never got over the war. His nerves were shot. The traumas stayed with him until his death last year. This is the atmosphere in which Ruud Krol was raised.
Yet when I asked Johnny Rep whether the war was ever mentioned in the Dutch camp during that World Cup, he replied: Ã¢ÂÂNever.Ã¢ÂÂ Even the defeat in the final passed off calmly. Van Hanegem did leave the field in tears, and the match meant more to him than just any old World Cup final, but the mood of 1988 was absent. In 1974, Dutch and German Ã¢ÂÂ¨players seemed of a kind.
The captains, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff, were friends, and Rep and Paul Breitner thwarted the FIFA ruling against shirt-swapping on the pitch by trading jacket and tie at the post-match Ã¢ÂÂ¨banquet. Jan Jongbloed, the Dutch keeper, wrote in his diary: Ã¢ÂÂA short disappointment that slowly passed into being satisfied with Ã¢ÂÂ¨silver.Ã¢ÂÂ Holland didnFÃ¢ÂÂt expect to beat the world, or the Germans. Being better than Belgium was quite heady enough.
Friends to the end: Cruyff and Beckenbauer
In 1974, the war was a mostly undigested period for the majority of Dutch people. Ã¢ÂÂ¨It was still too close, too painful to recall. Only in the 1980s did the war experience a revival in Holland. Holocaust monuments were erected, May 5 again became a holiday marking the Liberation, and in 1985, on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, dozens of books appeared depicting it as a conflict between Ã¢ÂÂgoodÃ¢ÂÂ Dutchmen and bad Germans. The Dutch were not yet ready to look at their own collaboration: the highest percentage of Jews killed anywhere except Poland, the largest Nazi party outside Germany.
It was in this atmosphere of Good versus Bad that the 1988 match took place. The German team of Lothar MatthÃÂ¤us, Rudi VÃÂ¶ller and JÃÂ¼rgen Kohler, violent ugly divers who couldnÃ¢ÂÂt play football Ã¢ÂÂ not like our boys Ã¢ÂÂ¨anyway Ã¢ÂÂ seemed to the Dutch to exemplify Ã¢ÂÂGermanyÃ¢ÂÂ. In a poem, How Deeply It Runs, the cabaretier Erik van Muiswinkel wonders how to explain Good and Evil to his daughter:
Adam, Eve, apple?Hitler, Florence Nightingale? I donÃ¢ÂÂt know, IÃ¢ÂÂm agnosticAnd preferably amoral.
Good and EvilLook, darling, look at the TV:Orange, Gullit, White.White, MatthÃÂ¤us, Black.
Holland vs Germany, Good vs Evil. Our shirts were bright, if unfortunately striped; the Germans wore black and white. We had black players, including Gullit, our captain, and our fans wore Gullit hats with rasta hair; their players were all white and their fans made monkey noises. Our players were funny and natural; A Thousand Years of German Humour is the shortest book in the world, and VÃÂ¶ller had that absurd perm. Our players were Ã¢ÂÂ¨individuals; the Germans could barely be told apart by their numbers. They dived.
The two teams, in short, summed up the way the Dutch wanted to see themselves and the way they saw the Germans. We were like Gullit and they were like MatthÃÂ¤us. There were obvious flaws to this notion and so, to make it fit, the Dutch briefly forgot their own discipline, their own staidness, and their own intolerance of Turks and Moroccans and Surinamese like Gullit. Ã¢ÂÂWe should really explain to the Germans that we hate all Ã¢ÂÂ¨foreigners,Ã¢ÂÂ suggested the magazine Vrij Nederland, but nobody did. The Germans were Evil and we were Good.
The match was, in short, a romanticised version of the war. Since the venue was Hamburg, it was also a symbolic reversal of the German invasion of 1940: an orange-clad Dutch Army drove its cars into Germany and defeated the inhabitants. People in Holland sang: Ã¢ÂÂIn 1940 they came / In 1988 we came.Ã¢ÂÂ
After 1988, Holland v Germany was never the same again. The teams next met at the World Cup of 1990, but this time there was no moral contrast: the bickering Dutch deservedly lost, and moreover Rijkaard spat at VÃÂ¶ller. There was a Dutch attempt to claim that VÃÂ¶ller had racially abused him Ã¢ÂÂ the old story Ã¢ÂÂ but Rijkaard inconveniently denied it.
"Mr Referee, this nasty man has discharged in my hair"
Our 3-1 win at Euro 92 was very enjoyable, but only a reworking of 1988 and it was the last time the countries met in a competitive match. Since then Holland vs Germany has lost much of its fizz for the Dutch (just as the Germans begin to cotton on).
I realised that something had changed in February 2000, when the Germans came to Amsterdam for a friendly. MatthÃÂ¤us gave Ã¢ÂÂ¨a sort of grand farewell interview to European journalists. Confusingly, he was friendly and charming, much like his fellow villains VÃÂ¶ller and Kohler. I asked why the Dutch disliked him so much. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd rather ask the Dutch that,Ã¢ÂÂ he said. Ã¢ÂÂIt continues to be a mystery to me.Ã¢ÂÂ
I said, Ã¢ÂÂThe Dutch hate you because to them you are Germany, you are the team.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ¨(I didnÃ¢ÂÂt add, Ã¢ÂÂBecause they think you are Ã¢ÂÂ¨a violent, ugly diver.Ã¢ÂÂ)
MatthÃÂ¤us replied, Ã¢ÂÂSo every whistle is Ã¢ÂÂ¨really a nice compliment for me?Ã¢ÂÂ
But in the stadium two days later, hardly anybody whistled him. He was winning his 144th cap, a world record if you didnÃ¢ÂÂt count certain African players, which FIFA didnÃ¢ÂÂt, and before the match the Dutch captain Edgar Davids presented him with a bouquet of Ã¢ÂÂ¨flowers. MatthÃÂ¤us looked surprised, perhaps because the socially dysfunctional Davids was captaining Holland, probably because he had never expected flowers in Holland. When Ã¢ÂÂ¨he waved the bouquet at the crowd, there Ã¢ÂÂ¨was far more clapping than booing. The Ã¢ÂÂ¨arch-German (Ã¢ÂÂMatthÃÂ¤us = HitlerÃ¢ÂÂ, said a Dutch banner at a Holland vs Germany game in 1989) had been accepted by the Dutch.
In fact, this was an insult. The Dutch had stopped hating Germans because they had stopped fearing them. When Germany was reunited in 1990, many Dutch feared the huge new country would become a threat again. The German economy was mighty. Even the football team were world champions. But Ã¢ÂÂ¨a decade later, Germany had no noticeable foreign policy, a stagnating economy and Ã¢ÂÂ¨a terrible football team. MatthÃÂ¤us was nearly 40. Admittedly two years later Germany reached the final of a World Cup for which Holland hadnÃ¢ÂÂt qualified, but it didnÃ¢ÂÂt matter Ã¢ÂÂ they still had a terrible team.
While Germany had ceased to be an Evil Empire, the Dutch no longer believed in their own Goodness. In the 1990s, revisionist books about the Dutch war demolished the myth that everyone had been in the Resistance. The period 1940-45 is now seen as a shameful episode in the nationÃ¢ÂÂs history, not something to beat the Germans over the head with.
Nor is it easy to claim that the Germans are racist now the Dutch have a large anti-immigrant party, created by the assassinated homosexual columnist Pim Fortuyn. We still do have black players in our team, but most Dutch people would prefer to see Kluivert, Seedorf and Davids dropped, while Germany have Ã¢ÂÂ¨fielded their first black player for two decades (and only the third ever) in Gerald Asamoah.
Oh, for the days of Good versus Evil.