Written by 00:58 World

Euro 2024’s Best Party Invite: Meet at the Bus. And Wear Orange.

It started with an old double-decker bus.

About 20 years ago, a group of friends who had met while following the Dutch soccer team around the world decided over beers that it would be fun to buy an old bus. They would paint it orange, the Dutch national color. They would outfit it with a bar and some very strong loudspeakers, and then they would take it on the road to watch their team.

But the bus is no longer just a bus. In the years since it first hit the road, it has morphed into something else: an internationally recognized grand marshal to a parade of tens of thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans who sing, chant and skip from left to right in unison on their way to the stadium every time and everywhere the national team plays.

For the last month, the bus has rolled across Germany during the European Championship, spreading its infectious, internet-friendly brand of joy and unbridled optimism that is hard to square with the popular Dutch idiom that people should “just act normal; that’s crazy enough.”

“We didn’t mean for this to happen,” said Henk van Beek, the bus’s official D.J. and the chairman of the group of friends who bought it. “We’re just fans. That’s the beautiful thing.”

Over time, what had long been a loose and freewheeling endeavor has become more organized. These days Mr. van Beek and his friends work with local authorities as well as the Dutch soccer federation to organize the match day marches, which have grown so large that they now require security and the blessing of the local police.

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Last modified: 11 July 2024
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