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Freya Blekman | USLHC | USA

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Amsterberne

As most of you are by now hopefully aware, Euro2008 (the European soccer championship for country teams) is currently taking place in Austria and Switzerland. Just like Monica and Pam I am having substantial problems not getting distracted by this extravaganza. Being Dutch doesn’t help, the Netherlands is performing much better than anyone expected, including the Dutch themselves. This leads to almost surreal celebrations. Let me give you an example:

As the Netherlands has a long tradition of football parties, a (very) high standard of living and people typically have over 35 free days per year, it is very easy to just take off one day, travel to Switzerland (which is about a 10 hours drive or an hours plane ride) for a day of Orange-clad madness. And I really mean madness, see for example this youtube video of Dutch fans in Berne. The video shows what happened in Berne on Friday evening, when the Holland-France match was on.

According to the local authorities, there were somewhere around 150,000 Dutch fans that decided to visit Berne for a day to party and watch the football there. I was one of them, and it was great fun. I have photos but you wouldn’t recognize me anyway as I look just as orange as everyone else so I won’t bore you with them.

I think the Bernese people were a bit baffled, particularly if one remembers that the population of Berne is about the same as the number of supporters that visited. Or even more amazing, that there are only 17 million people in the Netherlands, which meant almost one percent (!) of the population decided to drive/train/fly to a different country for one day, just to watch a sports match on a big screen, dress in silly outfits and drink loads (and I really mean loads) of beer.

Coming Tuesday the next match is in Basel. The Swiss have decided to make sure they can accommodate more people. Go figure, it’s about an hour’s drive closer. But all this excitement does make it very difficult to focus on work. Which is particularly exciting as things are really getting together. On Saturday, CMS finished yet another global run (this one had the nice CRUZET2 acronym) and for the first time we could observe data coming out of our pixel detector using the complete official readout chain, including quality monitoring. Very exciting. Possibly even more exciting than the soccer. But it’s very close call.

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