Sometimes I Feel Sorry for the Germans

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sometimes I Feel Sorry for the Germans

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), the governing body of soccer in the Netherlands, has come up with a touch of genius. Just in time for tonight's "friendly" against Germany in Rotterdam--my office mate doubts if there can be such a thing as a friendly match with Germany--the KNVB has put onto its website a German course for Orange supporters. It's meant (supposedly) for the World Cup, which will be played next year in Germany. According to the website, it is specially designed for the vocabulary of the modern supporter. You can even download it, burn it to a CD, and listen to it in your car on the way to Germany.

There are seven lessons on different subjects. Here are some highlights:

Lesson One: On the Way

No, this is for my own use.
No, I won't hand over my passport.
German Shepherd.
The embassy.

Lesson Two: Arriving and Getting to Know the Area

I'm looking for a cheap hotel near the stadium.
Can we get 34 rooms next to each other?
May we have a barbecue here?
When is the garbage picked up?

Lesson Three: Hot Meals

(This one is a bit harder to explain, as a lot of them involve asking for typically Dutch food that Germans don't usually eat)

We'd like something to drink first.
We didn't order this.
That's just about the biggest schnitzel I've ever seen.
The meat is tough.
May we take the rest of this with us for our dog?

Lesson Four: Meeting People and Shopping

I'm from the Netherlands.
(This need explaining. It stems from the war, when occupying German soldiers supposedly stole lots of bicycles. A famous sign at a German-Dutch soccer match read: "I want my bicycle back.")

Shall I paint your hair orange as well?
I don't have those kinds of feelings for you.
I have to go. Someone's waiting for me.
I didn't do it on purpose. It was an accident.

Lesson Five: Small Talk

Nice weather, isn't it?
The offside trap.
The pancreas.
(Note: the Dutch have a strange sense of humor. I don't get these two either.)
It's so nice here!
No, that's our Prime Minister.
Rudi Carrell.
(A Dutch TV host who became tremendously popular in Germany. Sort of like the French and Jerry Lewis.)

Lesson Six: In the Stadium

That was offside.
Where did they find this referee?
Is there something wrong with your eyes?
I don't think we've ever scored that quickly before.
Maybe you just don't have a sense of humor.
We have five more like him.
A dive.
Too bad.
A free kick.

Lesson Seven: Counting

(For this bit, you have to know that in soccer, the home team's score is listed first; and Germany will be hosting.)

Ten! Ten! Ten!

1974 (the most tramautic event in postwar Dutch history: losing the World Cup final to Germany, which was also the host that year. The brilliant Dutch team beat Germany in the opening rounds, then quickly jumped out to a 0-1 lead in the final and started showing off their skills rather than really trying for a second goal. The Germans came back, and when they scored the winning goal, the Dutch TV announcer said, "Oh no! They've fooled us again!")

1988 (when the Netherlands won the European Championship--also played in Germany).

World Champions 2006.

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