THE HAGUE: Flags prematurely declaring Holland the 2010 football World Cup champions are flying off the shelves with other orange paraphernalia as the Dutch kit themselves out for Sunday’s final against Spain.
"The wish is father to the thought," general manager Paul de Jager of Shipmate flags told AFP on Thursday of the company’s plans to produce 2010 special edition flags with the words: "Holland Wereldkampioen 2010 (Holland World Champion 2010).
Nearly 1,000 flags of one meter (3.28 feet) by 1.5 meters have been sold since marketing started on Wednesday, the day after the Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 to reach a World Cup final for the third time in history — its first in 32 years.
"Yes, we took a bit of a risk, but our trust (in the team) is big!" said De Jager, whose company is based near the western port city of Rotterdam.
Next to the wording, on an orange background, the flag is adorned with a lion composed of the names of the players of the Oranje Elftal (Orange Eleven) as the team is nicknamed, the coaches and the stadiums where they played.
It costs €18.50 (about $23.40), and a second edition may be issued depending on demand, said De Jager.
Another company, in the north of the country, has produced 12,000 of its own champion’s flag since Monday, and has sold 9,000 to date.
"Everyone is optimistic, everyone believes (in victory). The team is good, the spirit is good … that is why we believe," Elizabeth Visser, a spokeswoman for flag producer Dokkumer Vlaggen Centrale told AFP.
"It is nice for people to have the flag ready, at home, even before the final," she said.
Dokkumer started production of the flag on Monday, following the Netherlands’ 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brazil last Friday.
"We took a risk." If the team had lost against Uruguay, "we would have had to recycle a thousand flags".
At a cost of 15 euros, the flag on an orange background with a lion’s head and the red, white and blue colors of the Dutch flag, sports the words: "2010 Holland kampioen" (2010 Holland champion).
Visser said orders for the flag kept streaming in, and the company hoped to sell another 5,000 by Sunday. Dokkumer normally receives about 50 orders a day for its flag products.
"The Dutch believe in the power of thought," said Yvonne Fernhout, spokeswoman for the Dutch retailers’ federation.
"If everyone believes that the Netherlands will be the champion, they will be the champion!"
Other products in high demand in the run up to Sunday’s final include television sets and barbeque sets and all sorts of adornments, "Everything that is orange," said Fernhout.
The federation had predicted that retailers would make an extra 200 million euros during the World Cup, "but I think it will be even more," she said.
Orange flags have taken over city streets as what is colloquially known as Orange Fever increased in line with the team’s progress through the tournament.
Some people have covered their homes with plastic sheets in the national color, others put orange adornments on themselves, their children, pets, cars and bicycles.