The Netherlands: The Clockwork Orange

By: Wenses Salomón Pool Albornoz

The Netherlands has participated in the World Cup ten times, finishing runner-up three times: in 1974, 1978 and 2010, and as semifinalists twice: in 1998 and 2014. They’ve also competed ten times in the European Championship, winning gold in 1988. The Dutch national soccer team is one of the most prestigious teams in the world. In the 1970s, they were nicknamed “The Clockwork Orange” due to the color of their uniform and their excellent level of play. Every time the Netherlands participates in the World Cup, people go wild for their team. Enormous screens are placed in squares and towns, as people gather to follow all the matches live.

The name Holland technically refers to a cultural and historical region located on The Netherlands’ west coast. The country has hundreds of thousands of kilometers of bicycle paths, and it’s said that the country has more bicycles than inhabitants! Bicycle culture is sacred there: from a very young age, children are taught to cycle.

The people in the Netherlands are usually very respectful and polite, and houses and gardens are very well-maintained. Although the Dutch usually eat quickly and informally, there’s usually a bit more food on weekends, especially if they have guests. They set the table with freshly baked bread and croissants with all kinds of fillings and jams for spread. Those looking to experience the most typical areas of the Netherlands during their stay in the country shouldn’t miss the Amsterdam canal, the “cheese” town of Gouda or the windmills of Kinderdijk. If it’s tulip season, make sure to visit the Keunkenhoft in Lisse.

Although the first missionaries and Christians came to the Netherlands centuries ago, the Church of the Nazarene was started by Cor and Miep Holleman on May 13, 1967. Cor longed for his church to cultivate a new passion — one he quickly identified in Nazarenes. He became the country’s first Nazarene pastor, then the first district superintendent in 1976. During recent church celebrations around the country, many older Nazarenes shared funny stories of frogs swimming in makeshift baptismal pools or youth camps where some teenagers experienced their first kisses in renditions of the play Romeo and Juliet. But the common theme in all these celebrations has been encouragement to future generations with testimonies of God’s grace and faithfulness.

Let’s support the Church in the Netherlands! In a prosperous and multicultural country, most of the population has not yet professed that Jesus is Lord. Pray that Christians will continue to boldly preach the gospel to a population that, in many cases, is unfamiliar with the Bible and the love of Christ.

Resources consulted:

Cultural photo:

By photographer Gonzalo Diego Ramos

Photo of the national team:

By photographer Uriel Campos

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