Historical Belfast

Voetbalstad Belfast (Football City Belfast) with Wouter Schollema

February 17, 2023 Jason Burke Episode 29
Historical Belfast
Voetbalstad Belfast (Football City Belfast) with Wouter Schollema
Show Notes

When we think of the Dutch and their association with football it immediately evokes images of Johan Cruyff and his iconic ‘Cruyff turn’, Van Basten’s almost impossible goal in 1988, Ruud Gullit’s ‘sexy football’, Ajax winning the European Cup in 1995, and the famous ‘sea of orange’ that accompanies the Netherlands national team wherever they play. It really is a world away from our own domestic football scene here in Northern Ireland where the prospect of a Tuesday night fixture away to Warrenpoint Town doesn’t quite have the same appeal as what the Netherlands can offer.

And yet recently I’ve come across a Dutch historian who is so fascinated by the history of football in Belfast that he has decided to write a book about it – in Dutch, and for a Dutch audience…

Wouter Schollema is from the Frieseland region in the north of Netherlands. Through his studies at the Groningen University Wouter gained a keen interest in the history of Ireland and, in particular, the more recent history of Northern Ireland.

Football-wise he supports a club called Cambuur who, if the Dutch Erdivisie is turned upside down, are one of the top teams in the Netherlands… In reality they’re about the be relegated to the Dutch second-tier. At Cambuur, Wouter provides stadium tours for visitors and he is also the Dutch language teacher for the foreign players at the club.

Over the last year or so Wouter and I have struck up a friendship due to our mutual interest in football and so I thought it was only right that I should invite him onto the podcast to talk about his book, and I began by asking him where his fascination with Belfast comes from.

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