Amsterdam will add the unique football flavour of the Netherlands to UEFA EURO 2020, Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag said at the unveiling of the host city logo on Friday.
The ceremony completed a memorable week, during which Brussels and Bilbao also revealed their logos for EURO 2020 — a tournament which will be hosted by 13 cities across Europe to mark the competition’s 60th anniversary.
‘Gezellig’ is a word in Dutch that means ‘fun’ and ‘cozy’. The UEFA fifth vice-president is convinced that the thousands of fans who flock to Amsterdam during the final tournament will feel exactly what it means.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Mr Van Praag said, before those gathered at Amsterdam’s Hermitage museum — including the city’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan — watched a video to illustrate the joyful togetherness that ‘gezellig’ conveys.
“This is what people can expect in Dutch cities during a celebration,” he added, “because we have to celebrate the EURO, all together.”
“It is wonderful that the EURO will be coming to Amsterdam, a city that has produced legends such as Johan Cruyff and the Ajax club,” was UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin’s message as he joined everyone in looking forward to the event.
The Amsterdam ArenA will provide the stage for three group-stage games and a round of 16 tie. The impressive stadium, which was opened in 1996, will receive a significant makeover ahead of the tournament.
The penultimate of the 13 EURO 2020 host cities to present its logo, Amsterdam chose the Magere Brug (‘Skinny Bridge’) that spans the river Amstel in the heart of the city to adorn its design, symbolising — as with the other logos — how football acts as a bridge between geographical and social divides, and unites nations and fans.
“The fact that the EURO comes here is mainly down to the people who live here, and the people who will visit our country will contribute to this euphoria,” Mr Van Praag reflected.
“Football is about people. A European Championship is not possible without people. This is true for many places in Europe, but especially for the Netherlands, and in particular, for Amsterdam.”
The Netherlands team that triumphed at UEFA EURO ’88 travelled under the many bridges dotted around Amsterdam following their historic triumph in Germany.
The team’s goalkeeper, Hans van Breukelen, is hoping that the city might witness similar scenes in 2020, should the Oranje qualify for the final tournament.
“There were a lot of people waving, everything was orange. People were standing and dancing on the roofs of the house boats along the river,” said Van Breukelen, relishing the chance to relive his memories of the Dutch team’s success.