The World Cup this year did me a great favor: People stopped asking about my trip to Scandinavia, to visit Denmark. Because the Netherlands made it to the World Cup finals, more people–friends, co-workers, family–stopped confusing the Dutch with other people. They had at least a little bit of new knowledge about the Dutch: They’re good at soccer, and they love to wear orange.
What is the deal with all the orange, anyway? Their flag is red, white, and blue. So how does that explain their love of orange, as in this apartment complex, festooned with the colors of a traffic cone?
The official story, so you can sound smart at your next cocktail party, is that the flag is red, white, and blue, but orange is the color of the Dutch royal family, literally the House of Orange-Nassau. Dig this painting of the Dutch royal family back in the day, with their splashy orange accents:
Now you know. It’s your fun fact of the day, for trivia night at the pub or to impress your soccer-fan friends.
Orange is a symbol of their relationship to their royalty, including the beloved and down-to-earth Queen Beatrix. But I also suspect they just like it. Seeing a stadium full of orange is fun. Orange accents across a bike–and I saw a lot of streamer and plastic flowers draped across bicycle handles–is awesomely cheerful.
I couldn’t help it, I got into the spirit myself, picking up these intensely orange flats in Amsterdam:
Orange is just fantastic, isn’t it?
On a related note, this month’s Vogue has a piece about the resurgence of orange in nail color, lipstick, and even eyeliner. Prada kicked it all of this winter, with their look of super-shiny orange lips:
I think the Dutchies are really on to something.