Hup Holland Hup Laat de Leeuw niet….

As the Dutch National Soccer Team qualifies as first team for the finals in the World Cup, a sixty year old soccer doodle becomes world famous. Hup Holland Hup, here is your chance to sing it.

Holland goes beyond wooden shoes, cheese and tulips

Hup Holland Hup is trending as the Dutch National Soccer team made it into the world soccer finals with a 3-2 win over Uruguay this afternoon. Just to let you know, I’m not the biggest soccer fan around. I once was in 1974 when the Dutch soccer team made it to the finals in Munich Germany against host Germany.

The Dutch in those days had two of the world’s leading soccer teams: Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord Rotterdam were two major rivals on the national level and pushed each other beyond incredible on the international level. It was said (and often witnessed) that Ajax under its captain, Amsterdam born Johan Cruyff, could score at any point they wanted in a game. You could often sense the moment that they decided to outclass their opponents, when Johan Cruyff with some brilliant moves outplayed the complete opponents defense and passed to a team mate or scored himself. They usually kept it up for about 10 minutes and scored 2 or 3 times for a comfortable lead.

In the 1974 world cup finals they had the same tactics in mind. The Dutch won the toss kick and without a German ever touching the ball they moved in the German’s 16 meter line where only a big foul could stop the Dutch from scoring in the first minute. Penalty kicker Johan Neeskens made it 1-0 and from that point on the Dutch forgot to play football. Not that the Germans got a lot of scoring chances in the remaining 88 minutes, but in the end they only needed two and they  scored both times which took away the biggest chance the Dutch ever had to become World Champions.

I was there in Munich right on field level and I never forgave them. Everyone knew that the Dutch had the best team in the world, but they often played with that sense of over-confidence (arrogance) that made them forget to add effort to talent. They proved it again in 1978 in the finals against Argentine. Again they ran short. This coming Sunday it’s 32 years later and a complete new generation of players, yet our webmaster who watches the games religiously, tells me that he still sees the arrogance creep up on occasion. We’ll know this coming Sunday as it may become a repetition of that fateful day in July 1974 when I postponed my vacation to attend the finals against Germany (it was still West Germany in those days).

Hup Holland Hup is a soccer song that dates back to the 1950s when Holland had no professional soccer teams yet, but its national amateur team was feared across Europe. The song is only a one verse to be repeated over and over again as it pleas with the Dutch soccer players not to embarrass the Dutch Lion by turning arrogant or over confident again.

The lyrics are:

The Dutch Red-White and Blue with some Orange mixed in

Hup Holland Hup (Forward Holland Go)
Laat de leeuw niet in zijn hempie staan (don’t embarrass the lion)
Hup Holland Hup (Forward Holland Go)
Trek het beesie geen pantoffels aan (don’t make the lion wear house shoes)
Hup Holland Hup (Forward Holland Go)
Laat je uit het veld niet slaan (don’t let them play you off the field)
Want een leeuw op voetbalschoenen (for a lion in soccer shoes)
kan de hele wereld aan (can beat any team in the world)

Want een leeuw op voetbalschoenen
kan de hele wereld aan.

And repeat ad nauseum

It’s actually on youTube:

The Dutch Royal Family originated from Orange-Nassau County in today’s Germany and in their family’s Coat of Arms the color Orange was dominant as was the Lion. The oldest coat dates back to the 13th century. As in the US, the Dutch prominently feature red, white and blue in their flag (oranje, blanje bleu). If you’re interested in how this came about, try this website.

For now I’m just happy they made it this far. Maybe I will memorize the players’ names as well and forget those that “left the Dutch lion standing forlorn in his wife beater shirt”, back in 1974.

1 Comment

  1. tommylee

    Yes, Arrogance does still creep into the Dutch game which is known, like in almost any team sport, that it ain't over until the fat lady sings and the last 3 whistle blows sound. The lack of concentration may mark a better description than comparing it to the arrogance of 1974 – 1978 World Cup finals dutch team that was star studded and molded together by soccer giant coach Rinus Michels (also called “the General”) who introduced “total soccer”.

    The concept of total soccer, a trademark that for many years in the late 1960's, 70's and early 80's and a resurgence in mid 1990's, introduced by The General that every player on the field must be able to play any position including the goalkeeper.

    In general, this style has been adopted by most soccer nations in a more or less sufficient way but has prevailed in Holland throughout the last 40 years.

    Today, or better throughout this South African World Cup, is the first time I notice that the style of “Total Soccer” is altered to a more realistic “multiple position play” rather than “Total” and it is what this small 200 square mile nation again makes so remarkable on the highest level of Soccer. Bart v. Marwijk is the first coach to change the legacy of Rinus Michels and he has given proof that his vision is correct with a 24 unbeaten match record and a 100% point score in the country that has introduced a new supporter instrument “The Vevuzela” into the harts and minds of soccer fans to cheer on their national team.

    The Dutch soccer game may not be as beautiful as it was under Total Soccer, but it is effective, still brilliant from time to time, if only they can leave the arrogance completely in the dressing room. If The Netherlands team can achieve that, they will finally claim their rightful place on the highest level of the Global soccer game and in doing so will honor posthumously “The General” who is widely acclaimed as the greatest soccer coach of the 20th century.

    Make no mistake, as Total Soccer introduced by “The General” and it's beauty is what revived the declining trend of soccer fans abandoning going to the stadiums and has re-sparked the most widely played game in the world that can claim it has still an expanding popularity.

    Hup Holland Hup may be a shout for many unfamiliar, yet it may just what is needed for the South African host Nation, battling the problems of 16 official languages, to continue to re-unite on a road to a fully deserved prosperity, without having to venture into unfamiliar territory as Afrikaans is still the predominant Old Dutch Language with an African flair.

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