Of course the eternal struggle for national dominance isn’t just restricted to Birgit and myself. It isn’t even just a German-British thing. It seems like everybody wants to get one up on the Germans.
Take the Dutch, for example.
Living, as I do, in the border area of Germany and the Netherlands, it’s impossible to ignore the intense enmity between the two nations.
The Germans refer to the Dutch language as a Halskrankheit (thoat infection), whereas the Dutch have never quite recovered from wartime occupation and are prone to lock up their bicycles whenever they see a German car coming over the border, lest their sole means of transport should be commandeered again.
The Germans refer to their Dutch neighbours as Käseköpfe (cheese heads). The Dutch get their own back by towing their caravans at a snail’s pace down the German Autobahn in convoys of several thousand every Summer, thus ensuring that the Germans never have chance to switch their Porsches and Mercedes out of second gear.
But at no time is the rivalry between the two nations more fierce than when sport is at stake. And by sport I mean, of course, football.
Remember when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea, and the Germans released a hit single “Ohne Holland fahr’n wir zur WM“?
Or what about the Euro 2004? Remember this video?
With the Euro 2008 coming up and both teams going to Austria/Switzerland… and with the Dutch driving all the way across Germany to get there, it should make for an exciting Summer on the roads.
I might have to buy a Bahncard.