Belfast Telegraph

Dutch fans invited to Museum of Orange Heritage during Euro 2020 qualifier visit


Dutch fans have been invited to visit the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast
Dutch fans have been invited to visit the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast

Dutch football fans have been invited to celebrate their shared heritage with Northern Ireland ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier this weekend.

The Netherlands and Northern Ireland have long shared a connection through the Dutch King William of Orange, who defeated King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland team will face off against the Dutch in Windsor Park on Saturday evening, after their 3-1 defeat against Ronald Koeman's men in Rotterdam last month.

Win or lose, however, the colourful Dutch fans will have the chance to take in some of Northern Ireland's Orange culture.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has issued an open invitation to all the travelling support to visit the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast during their visit.

Providing they are wearing their team colours, Dutch fans will enjoy free entry to the museum on Friday and Saturday.

Dr Jonathan Mattison, curator of the Museum of Orange, said he hopes this will be the only free pass anyone in a Dutch shirt will get this weekend.

"As manager Ronald Koeman is bringing his Dutch side to Belfast, we thought it would be a great chance to open the doors of our museum to the fans and make them aware of our shared history," he said.

"We know the fans will be very much focused on the football, but perhaps before the game some will be interested in finding out a bit about our links through William of Orange. We’d love to see them."

Meanwhile, Belfast will also be treated to an orange parade like no other typically seen in Northern Ireland this weekend.

Dutch football fans will parade through Belfast to Windsor Park next month
Dutch football fans will parade through Belfast to Windsor Park next month

That's because last month the Royal Dutch Football Association became the first visiting football association to notify the Parades Commission of a planned walk by fans from the city centre to Windsor Park on Saturday.

Around 900 Dutch supporters, affiliated with the Royal Netherlands Football Association, will descend on the city ahead the game and will march to the stadium for the 7.45pm kick-off.

The colourful half-hour parade of the 'Oranje' fans is due to leave from the Dublin Road around 6pm and travel through Shaftsbury Square, the Donegall Road and Donegall Avenue ahead of the crucial qualifying tie.

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