A lonely Greek flag is waving in a busy street of Amsterdam – since a couple of days. Anton is a fan of Greece. He spent six years living and working as photographer in Greece but recently returned to The Netherlands. Anton hoisted the Greek Flag on his balcony to hail and support the Greek National Team and show solidarity with the people and the country.
“We have a big Greek flag (present from a Greek neighbour when we left for Amsterdam) on our balcony. Partly because of the football.” But not only due to EURO 2012, Anton wrote KTG in an e-mail.
“It has more to do with making a support statement to the country and the people I consider my own. But don’t underestimate the power of football. There never has been much love lost between Dutch and Germans. And as the Dutch were squashed last week by them people are really rooting for the Greek team to do to the Germans as they did to Russia. Everybody I talk to loved that win. And don’t forget, Russia had a Dutch coach! But that didn’t matter at all.”
Anton writes about how the Dutch felt when Greece defeated Russia.
“The win brought the first positive feelings towards Greece and Greeks in a long time. A sense of solidarity. A willingness to reconsider that maybe not every Greek is a lazy, freeloading crook’.
Was it easy to hoist a flag other than of one’s own country? Not much, it looks…
“It’s amazing. It may sound crazy, but when I put the flag there I felt nervous. Because it IS a statement about your allegiance in a hostile environment. But it was a defensive statement. But after the win towards Russia, I felt that this suddenly became something very positive and I now have a feeling of… pride? Happiness? Empowerment? I don’t know how to describe it. But it is a very positive feeling that has nothing to do with the outcome of the match against Germany on Friday. It feels like something there to stay.”
The reactions of neighbors and passers-by? So far, “we had only positive reactions by the people, they often point at it, neighbours and shopkeepers talk to us about it. ” Anton wrote KTG in an e-mail.
“One morning I was sitting in front of the window with my notebook and first coffee. A big group of people in their late teens passed on the other side of the street. Lots of dark and blond-out-of-bottle hair and big sunglasses. Looked like Greeks to me. Suddenly one stopped and pointed at the flag. They laughed and some started clapping. And a couple of them took pictures. And I was sitting there with a very big smile. A very happy moment.”
Positive remarks about the flag is the only thing Anton hears. And it seems that Greeks who have found their way to Amsterdam are especially cheered to see their national symbol waving on a Dutch balcony.
“Last evening, I suddenly heard something very familiar. People were talking outside and then starting to laugh and making loud positive remarks about the flag. In Greek. I saw two guys walking down the road and one was still glancing over his shoulder and smiling.”
Keep Talking, Anton, and let the Greek flag change also the attitude of the Dutch government towards Greece 🙂