Normally, during a World Cup, the nightlife streets of Stratumseind and the Market in Eindhoven turn completely orange. You now have to search for a café where the football tournament is being shown on large screens. “It’s not back to usual yet” say the hospitality people. Nevertheless, some cafés are trying to make the best of it. They are luring customers in with the promise of five minutes of free beer if the Netherlands scores.
Almost no orange decorations or Dutch flags can be seen on the Stratumseind. On Monday afternoon, just before the first game of the Orange against Senegal, the nightlife street was empty and deserted. The exception was café De Spijker. Outside was a sign announcing that five minutes of free beer on tap would be offered if the Netherlands scored a goal.
“I think everyone is still a bit cautious. We are all looking forward to it, but it is a different World Cup than usual,” says Tren Braat of Stadscafé De Spijker. “If we want to go all out, then we have to do it that way, we thought,” he says about the action to give free beer on tap if the Netherlands scores. “We’ll make it a party.“
According to Tren, the fact that the World Cup is not yet alive has several causes. “We have all followed the news,” he says, referring to the negative press surrounding the World Cup in Qatar. “In addition, it is in the winter, which is very different than in the summer when people can stand outside. And the time: the Orange team is playing at five o’clock, which is of course not favorable.”
A little further on at café Monkeys they are also ready for the World Cup. Manager Maxim is standing behind the bar in an orange football shirt. “It is of course a bad time, Monday afternoon in the winter,” says the manager. Maxim hopes that people will still get the World Cup bug. The matches can be followed on large screens both indoor and outdoor. “The music is switched off when the Orange begin to play and the sound of the TVs switched on. We want to give people the experience that belongs to a World Cup. Maxim expected that on Monday at least some die hard supporters would come to watch.
Also on the Markt in Eindhoven, the World Cup atmosphere is still absent. The exception is café De Wildeman. Werner Raben of De Wildeman, dressed in his orange tshirt, is serving people on the terras where orange flags hang all around. Inside there is a large screen to follow the matches. “It still has to get going, but we are ready and looking forward to it,” says Raben. The negative image of host country Qatar also plays a role. “There are people who have trouble with that.”
The fact that the tournament is held in the winter also plays a part in the hospitality industry. “It’s a very different experience than usual”. Nevertheless, he sees it positively: “I think that when we have had the first game, we will all be behind the Orange team again. And then the real celebrations will begin.”
Translated by: Shanthi Ramani