In a few short hours, Holland will play Spain in the World Cup finals in South Africa. Here in Amsterdam, the anticipation is electric, buzzing behind everyone's eyes, underneath everyone's skin. I, for one (like most Americans), have never known nor cared anything about football, but this has been wholly impossible to resist. The excitement is palpable and alive and, believe it or not, I really like watching the games. The constant motion is mesmerizing, and the flashes of power and speed, addictive.

They've predicted 1 million extra people coming into Amsterdam from outside the city today. To give you some perspective, the population of Amsterdam is around 750,000; so we're looking at more than double the population staring rapt at screens all over the city, screaming and jumping if Holland scores or is scored upon, and then roaming the streets in either jubilation or despair, probably drunk in any scenario. I was out on my bike earlier, scoping out the scene at Museumplein, where five enormous TVs are being set up over the grass and some 80,000 people are expected to watch.

Oh, and? It's probably going to storm. Last night we were trapped in a restaurant as the sky opened up, cracked and spit at us. We finished our meal and cycled through thunder and lightening and rain coming thick and fast, and in three minutes arrived soaking wet at Door74, a swanky, reservations-only cocktail bar so exclusive the website features only a phone number. We sat in an intimate leather booth sipping very high quality 15euro drinks and were asked to put our shoes back on. I hoped that perhaps last night's storm was the extent of it, but it now seems as though the clouds are just waiting for another opportune moment.

Judging on the enthusiasm the city has been floating on for the last couple of weeks, however, a little rain won't keep anyone inside. Here's how and where I watched and celebrated the last two wins.
The crowd celebrating an unlikely Oranje victory on an oppresively hot day at the Vondeltuin, an outdoor bar where we watched Holland beat Brazil.
Fans heading off to celebrate after the Holland/Brazil match.

The crowd craning their necks to see the big screen at the Westergasfabriek, one of the many big parties all over the city the night of the Holland/Uruguay match. 
Heineken in hand, ready for action.
A quick video I managed of celebratory national songs, showers of beer, dancing, hugs, and overall euphoria. Holland goes to the finals. 
And, we dance.

It has been amazing to be here so far as Holland made their way to the finals for the first time since the 70s, and here's hoping for a win (and an all-night party) tonight. Now off I go to once again join the cycling orange-clad masses. Hup Holland Hup!

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