Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Spakenburg Derby

The Derby of Derbies

Twice a season in a small village just north of Utrecht in the Netherlands something very special happens. Pigs, farmers, fisherman, a giant viking and an army of football supporters come together for the Spakenburg derby. In the red corner we have the good folk at IJsselmeervogels and in the blue corner we're blessed with SV Spakenburg. It's the biggest amateur derby in Holland. It sounds totally bonkers and I am loving it.

IJsselmeervogels were formed in 1932 by a group of fishermen in response to the farmers of Spakenburg who'd formed SV Spakenburg a year earlier. The two clubs have been trying to outdo each other ever since. When one club builds one stand, the other will try and build a slighter bigger and better one. A couple of seasons ago, just for a gag, some IJsselmeervogels fans stole the centre circle at Spakenburg and in the most recent derby they painted a pig blue (as a little dig at the farmers), smuggled it into the ground and let him loose on the pitch before the match.

In the past this fixture was beset by a number of problems. Crowd disorder during the 90's and a bomb thrown at a linesman in 1987 meant that the two clubs were placed in separate divisions between 1995-2002. Things are a lot less sinister nowadays and the traditional pitch invasion that follows each derby is happily a peaceful one.

Both clubs have had their moments. In 1975 the Reds became the first and last club to reach the Dutch Cup semi finals and were thus crowned "Dutch sports club of the Year" and in 1985 the Blues won a league and cup double and became - in the words of club secretary Marjo Hartog - "The best team in the land".

The Blues unveil their new mascot

The Reds respond by letting a pig loose on the pitch.

So the Blues then fly a plane overhead with the words ""Hup SVS. Schijt aan de buren", which means "Come on Spakenburg. Shit on the neighbours". It later fires out toilet brushes onto the pitch.

So the Reds fill the ground of their rivals with red smoke. The two grounds are virtually in the same street by the way.

And the Blues get out large blue sticks and so on and so forth. Who won? Who cares just get us a ticket.

EFW spoke to Jim Donkers (of course Jim Donkers) at SV Spakenburg to get a bit more of an insight into this magical fixture. We're sometimes called The Smurfen, like those little blue cartoon people. In the past the reds have been represented by the fishermen whereas we've been seen more as the bourgeoisie. The pig was just a joke from the reds in the last derby - a game where we unveiled a giant blue and white viking as our new mascot. This rivalry is the reason the two clubs reached and always stay at the top, remarkable for a small village with only 20,000 residents.

Sometimes the rivalry goes too far but some families are both red and blue and they're all Spakenburgers - which means they don't accept negativism and will level action against anyone who does harm to one of the two clubs.
Normally both clubs attract crowds of between 1500-2000 but for this - the mother of all derbys - around 8-9000 fans attend. EFW is always welcome to visit the derby. There is a beer ban before the match when we drink Cola-Sonnema, which is a herbal drink but after the match there is always a party win, lose or draw. The party is always best on the blue side.

For more photos from the derby head here and there. For some YouTube footage click here. Thanks to Joris at Doing the 116, Pat from Pat's Travel Blog and SV Spakenburg for the photos.

I think we've seen and heard enough to make the Spakenburg Derby the No.1 fixture on the EFW agenda for 2010/11. We'll be at both matches but who to support? The Reds or the Blues?

- Feel free to comment below -


Anonymous said...

If you like to win and have a great party, support the Reds... They're the record Champion!

1860er said...

Brilliant! I'm in. Where do I sign up?
Never heard of this derby before, but after reading this article I can't wait to go.

Btw, I think I'll go for the blues, just because I like their colours better ;-)

Unknown said...

Great article! I grew up in Spakenburg, moved away. but still am a "red", supporter of IJsselmeervogels. Of course the supporters do care who wins and luckily it was us last saturday (2-3). I'm not sure if the blues have the best party, but who knows, if you don't win that much as your red neighbours and rivals, you have quite something to celebrate when you win eventually ;). Hope to see you all next season in Spakenburg.

Danny Last said...

Thanks Anon! We love a party here at European Football Weekends.

Just to add that next season the derby take place in the newly formed highest amateur division 'Topklasse', where clubs from the top three tiers of Dutch play.

There is also rumours of some great pre-derby-parties coming through to EFW HQ. If anyone can shed any light on those, we're all ears...

Danny Last said...

1860er and Henk. Thanks for your comments lads. This game is exactly what EFW is all about. A friendly rivalry that has banter and humour in abundance.

That is why it is top of our agenda for next season. Bring it on!

Pat said...

Great report Dan! I witnessed the game and can recommend it to everybody!

See you there next season,


Anonymous said...

It is a wonderfull derby. I have seen it a lot of times.

On both sides it's a big party. The Reds are better in the league but the blue are better in the derby.

And there is a lot of respect the last years.

When a big supporter of the blue died 8000 persons whre giving him respect. You can see it here

More video's

Anonymous said...

IJsselmeervogels, the Reds, build by the fishermans, is by far the club with the best football DNA. the party at the red site is at least as good!
come and see if your close!

MvG said...

Having seen the game at both grounds I'm aiming for the Katwijk derby (KVV Quick Boys v VV Katwijk) next season.

Took some pics myself.


PresuminEd said...

I had the pig to score first at 8-1 (btw... as a tedious sub-editor I feel compelled to point out the correct plural is "derbies"... "ey" words like "monkey" become "monkeys" but with no apostrophe... same applies to "More videos" (no apostrophe)... sorry, I can't stop myself... ;)

JW de Graaf said...

We are the best amateurclub of Holland so if you like to party you have to go to the Red Side of "de Westmaat". Saturday we play against the number two in the league, if we win we're gonna be champion again. See you next derby.

PresuminEd said...

As a Town fan I naturally edge towards the Blues... however, I must support any team that puts a pig on the pitch... gotta be Reds, then...

(...extra fun fact... anything belonging to Derby County is "Derby's"... somebody stop me... I feel like a complete schijt...)

Danny Last said...

PresuminED - Changed to derbies now old chap. Thanks for pulling me up on that.

MvG - The Katwijk derby is also on our radar but I've been told the difference is that game attracts a lot of hooligans. We prefer beers and laughs to fighting here at EFW.

The other lads (anons) - The videos and the offers of beers and partying we've had through the EFW HQ today have further cemented our plan to visit. We've not just pencilled it, we've inked the derby into our diary for next season.

Unknown said...

Hey guys, found some videos you might like. This is what our derby is all about!

The reds and blues entering the pitch:

Jeffrey Winter scoring one of the most memorable derby goals of all time, and the reds going insane:

Hope you enjoy them!
About the other derby, Katwijk-Quick Boys: its still not sure if that game will be played next season. After this season a new league will be formed, its called Topklasse. The best teams of the current Hoofdklasse will qualify for this new, highest amateur league. IJsselmeervogels already qualified and also Spakenburg is almost certain of qualification. So that derby will certainly be played in the Topklasse next season. Katwijk will qualify most likely, Quick Boys however are almost certain to not earn their promotion, so the Katwijk-Quick Boys derby will probably not take place for at least one season, at least not at the highest amateur level.

Mepy said...

I would say, your very welcome at our Derby, butt you also have to visit the thursdayevening before the derby then the fans give their teams a great boost.
You'll better support the Reds, because if you aint Red your bad!!!

Mepy said...

I would say, your very welcome at our Derby, butt you also have to visit the thursdayevening before the derby then the fans give their teams a great boost.
You'll better support the Reds, because if you aint Red your bad!!!

Peet said...

Proud to be RED untill i'm dead :-)!

A nice video summery of the last "mother of all derbies" can you find here:

Anonymous said...

both the spakenburg and katwijk derby are in the saturday league because for religious reasons they don't play on a sunday ijselmeervogels best player ever jaan de graaf could easy have made as a pro but he refused to play on a sunday

Unknown said...

This derby is really something special. The two clubs are sepperated only by one wall in the middle of they're support home.

Both clubs have big party's afterwards. Just go to the winning team... :D

If you'll see the derby the most fun to stand is at the team that isn't playing home. When the blue get to the red they alway's make something special to annoy them.
But othersides the same. Red standing at the blue, it's one really big group of crazy people. Lot crazier then the blue standing at there own spot.

Red is a bit more sympathik in my neatral opinion but have to admin. Both clubs are great. Red is just a bit bigger and more loyal fans.

Watch it next year twice and go and stand with the people away, party at the winning team afterwards and proberly you see all the good things this way.


Danny Last said...

@Henk - Great stuff old chap

@Mepy - What happens on the Thursday before the derby then? Are we talking a party or two?

@Peet - Cheers for that!

@Robert - Good advice my friend ;-)

Philip Genochio said...

a bomb thrown at the linesman in 1987, and the clubs were put in separate leagues from 1995? nothing like quick decisive action! did it take 8 years for the linesman to realise it was a bomb? perhaps he didn't realise at the time, and one morning 8 years later woke up bolt upright and said 'hang on. that wasn't a bottle thrown at me in 1987. THAT WAS A BOMB! i shall get that team thrown out of the league immediately.'

and the reds in 1975... first and last club in the cup semis? surely that's not right? there must've been clubs before and after to reach the semi finals? ;)

great blog by the way.

Danny Last said...

Hullabaloo - That should have read 'last AMATEUR club to reach the semi finals' I hang my head in shame (again).

Re. the bombing of a linsman, it's any little thing these days eh? You can't even have a little joke chucking a bomb at an official without some hoity toity nitwit getting his knickers in a twist at the football association. Not sure why it took them so long. Maybe the grass had something to do with it ;-)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

@Hullabaloo and Danny:
True,in 1987 someone threw a self made bomb. Not at the linesman, but the linesman got injured anyway. After that, the teams werent really separated. For example, they played against each other in the 1989-1990 season and also from 1992 til 1995. After the 1995 season it was "enough" for both teams for various reasons. But hooliganism wasnt one of the reasons. One of the main reasons was that both teams wanted to win the league and that chance is bigger when youre not competing each other. So mostly one team played in the Mid-Holland league and the other in the East/North league, at the same level though. After 1999 the teams officially decided to remain separated for a few years more, because there was a lot of tension after the blues bought two star players of the reds. Since 2002 (the situation got normalized again) the teams are always in the same league, and i cant recall there have been any problems whatsoever.
Off topic hullabaloo: are you a Muse fan :)?

Chaz33xxx said...

I heard you speak on the ELP Talk podcast and I thought “That dude’s site sounds like the perfect place for an American who has dreamt about making a soccer pilgrimage to Europe”.

I was fascinated with your opinions about the best atmospheres in “football”… From afar, I would have thought FC Porto would have been top of the list. But your endorsement of Turkey and Germany was really fascinating. Certainly Bundesliga supporters do seem rowdy and passionate. I've only been to Allsvenskan matches (wild)...

What you said about the sedate and affluent EPL crowds has a parallel here in New York for our major sports, but our new NY Red Bulls Arena (soccer only) is the nice exception! It’s so inexpensive that you can just walk up on match day without stopping at a bank machine first.

Richard, the host of ELP Talk seems a bit square, because I would have asked you about…

The LADY FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS around Europe! I’m often dazed when the camera focus on some of the women in the stands at La Liga matches! FOOTBALL IS GREAT BUT, LET’S FACE IT, THERE’S PLENTY OF TIME TO LOOK AROUND…

…Great site!

Danny Last said...

@Henk - thanks for clearing that up mate. I think it's great that terrace humour replaces mindless hooliganism in this fixture. Rivalry is a great thing in football but it doesn't need to decend into violence everytime.

@Chaz - thanks for the comments. I've been to FC Porto but only for a European Championships match in 2004 between Italy and Sweden. The Swedish support that day might well have ticket your 'female fan' box!

Here's something you might be interested in; check out these season ticket prices that are available for some German clubs:

Schalke £123, Bayern Munich £105, Werder Bremen £123, Hertha Berlin £130 and Bochum £105. You can by individual match tickets from as little as £11 at most of those clubs as well.

Compare that to Luton Town for example (currently in the English non-league) whose cheapest season ticket is £270. The cheapest season ticket at Queens Park Rangers is £450! That's 450GBP. I need to have a sit down....

Mepy said...

During the last training before the clash ( usually a thursday ), the supporters will line up at one side of the field to sing, and light red torches.
Afterwards there is a party in the cantine, during which the players are also present

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Last said...

@Mepy - Another fine quirk to add to the growing list. Splendid.

@Erwin - I'm glad you removed your own post before I did. Too many beers last night my friend?

Incidentally, I've been reading about Groesbeek in the Netherlands today and the 6 (six) teams in their village. Anyone know anything about those guys?

Danny Last said...

Well the fixtures are out for the 2010/11 season and this one was the first one we looked up:

Spakenburg v IJsselmeervogels 06/11/10

IJsselmeervogels - Spakenburg 16/04/11

EFW will be at both games.

Klaas said...

If you want .. you can see some more info on the website with some moving pictures..

It is a nice foreplay !! in a acceptable quality.


Danny Last said...

The European Football Weekends team will be travelling over to Spakenburg in two weeks time for this - the greatest match in football.

I've been looking forward to it all year.

Bring it on!

klaas said...

Message to danny ..

Danny will you visit our derby ?? this november 6th ?? if so i would like to interview you before the match for the club tv station.


mail me at

Danny Last said...


Yes, we're coming over. I wouldn't miss this game for the world. I've sent you an email.