Feyenoord Champions Once More!!

More than 18 years ago, on the 25th April 1999, the Rotterdam team Feyenoord won the Eredivisie Championships. Today, they have made history again by becoming the 2017 Champions!

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The Champions Festival of Feyenoord on the Coolsingel on 25 april 1999
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Another photo from 25th April 1999

Since the last two weeks there has already been preparations for the celebrations, such as a 500-600kg flag hung up at Hofplein, projecting the logo against the 5th tallest building in the Netherlands, cakes with the logo and Rotterdam harbour workers making the letter F for Feyenoord with red and white containers. Oh and I nearly forgot to mention even cheese!!

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Source: RTV Rijnmond Twitter Account

Match One

Last Sunday was the first chance to become champions, with their match against Excelsior. Since the morning from 10am there were already cars tooting past the house, flags hanging out the windows. Fireworks heard going off all around the city and everywhere you look there were people in red and white.

The city was prepared for the match, with big screens and public areas completely filling up ready to watch! Containers were put around the city in place for security measures but most people used them to see the big screens!

DSC_3683DSC_3680The match started at 14:30 against Excelsior in their home stadium, but not that far from De Kuip, home stadium of Feyenoord.

The first half wasn’t the best, making a few tries but nothing really special. By half time they were 0-0 so it wasn’t looking too good for them. The 2nd half caught them even more off guard as Excelsior scored 3 goals within 9 minutes of each other. Unfortunately Feyenoord didn’t make a single goal and lost the match 0-3 to Excelsior.

It sure was disappointing feeling walking back through the city full of supporters, who were ultimately starting riots against the police with so much alcohol in their system. The riot police were already ready for the rioters.

DSC_3727Match Two

This match was the deciding factor of whether Feyenoord would be champions of not. The pressure was on them even more, but there was a sense of confidence throughout the fans as Feyenoord would be playing at home, in De Kuip.

This time they were against Heracles starting at the same time of 14:30.

More regulations were set this weekend in the city, such as tickets needed now for certain open areas and all supermarkets within the center were banned to sell alcohol during a specific time limit. But that didn’t stop the supporters, bringing alcohol with them obviously bought the day before.

Well what a way to start a match! 40 seconds into the start was the first goal scored by Dirk Kuyt, followed by the second before half time. The last goal was scored also by him in the second half, making it a perfect hat-trick. Heracles managed to score a goal in the second half but with a strong defence the championships were already won. Finishing the game with 3-1 to Feyenoord!

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Kuyt Celebrating in De Kuip! Source: Feyenoord Twitter Account

Once the match was ended, the whole city was crazy!! Now I’m not really a big football fan, but to experience this was unbelievable!! So much energy and excitement from EVERYONE. The one place all supporters go to visit is Hofplein, the fountain shown in the third photo. It is a well known spot to celebrate victories!!

DSC_3786DSC_3805DSC_3794DSC_3800As you can see below, you actually cannot see the fountain any more!!

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Source: RTV Rijnmond Twitter Account from Bart Luters

DSC_3837Tomorrow supporters and the team will celebrate on the Coolsingel for the champions ceremony, just like in the first photo 18 years ago.

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Source: Feyenoord Twitter Account

Finding A New Home in Rotterdam, NL

Moving house can always be a challenge. Finding a suitable place that you like and that matches your requirements such as the space and more importantly the price. It can be both a long or short process, but the outcome is usually rewarding.

During my childhood I had moved to a few different houses, all with different unique selling points that my parents fell in love with. But at that age you never think about how much time and energy it takes to find a place and move in!

When I decided to move to the Netherlands to become an Au Pair I never had to choose where I would be staying, as I lived in the same house as the family. And once my 1 year contract was finished, I moved in with my partner’s/his family’s apartment. It got a little crowded at times but we made it work perfectly, until the time came that we couldn’t really live in 1 bedroom any more (maybe too many clothes had something to do with it!). We were craving for our own little place. The next place was our current place from a different family member. A cute one bedroom house in Rotterdam provided us the space and independency we were looking for.

However for the last 5 months I have been on the lookout for a new place to live. Our living arrangement contract was coming to the end and we needed a new place by the end of January. It was time to find a new place of our own.

One of the most challenging things was finding a place that fit all of our requirements, such as the total square metres, storage, easy to move to (not much DIY needed!), maybe a view and the price. Looking in Rotterdam has been a BIG challenge, as houses or apartments that fit our budget didn’t fit the rest of the requirements, or the other way round, fit all our requirements but then was way over our budget! We realised half way through our 5 months that we would have to make compromises. One thing we knew for certain was that the new place had to be in Rotterdam. Why move away from a beautiful city?!

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We signed up to many websites such as Pararius.com and Funda.nl to see all the latest houses and apartments for sale, checking through the lists for something suitable. We also had help from friends and family when they had found something we might like. We visited many houses all shapes and sizes, buying or renting, with not much luck. Even when we did find a place we thought was good, we applied and we were not chosen or lucky enough to win the lottery for the place.

That’s the negative part about finding a place to live in a city that is growing and growing. One house we viewed had at least 20 other people viewing at the same time! It felt rather strange, after my experience of viewing houses with my parents as a child, being the only people in the house with the selling agent. Now it was like a fight to get to the kitchen first, to stand on the balcony or to squeeze into the bathroom. Definitely more efficient for the sales agent at least! You also had to be fast in responding and applying, as it would be gone within 2 days of being advertised.

But it wasn’t until the day before Christmas Eve that we viewed a new apartment to rent. We were one of 6 people in total who had the chance to view it, as the selling agent only took the first 6 people who called, saying that it would definitely be taken by one of us. We’ll he was right, out of the 6 people who viewed it, 3 people applied, including us… AND GUESS WHO GOT IT?!

We did.

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Rotterdam Marathon 2016

On April 10th the Rotterdam Marathon was full in swing. Starting at 10am the city was buzzing with runners and supporters. A few years ago this was something I would watch on the tv of the helicopter view and look out the window when the runners were close. It never crossed my mind that in 2016 I would be running alongside them!

I started training back in December 2015, but have been very sportive the last 2 years already with group lessons at my local gym such as Zumba, Bodypump and Bodyshape. So running was definitely not my thing!

When I signed up for the 1/4 Rotterdam Marathon I couldn’t even imagine what 10km was like so when I first got on the treadmill for 30 minutes I was in for a big shock. By January 2016 I was running up to 3km within 30 minutes, which was good but not good enough.

The goal for the marathon was to complete the 10km within the 1 hour and 30 minutes but as April got closer by I was pushing myself to finish within 1 hour and 20 minutes. The weeks leading up to the marathon I focused 100% into running and stopped all group lessons that I was attending, as those last few weeks to push myself was needed. Using the Nike running app I had tracked that during practice I was reaching 4km within 30 minutes. So I knew that I was running a good speed to be within the 1 hour and 30 minutes – but this didn’t stop me being nervous.

Waking up on Saturday April 9th I felt good and nervous. Within 24 hours I would be starting at 10am at the start of the Rotterdam Marathon. I had no fitness plans as I was worried that I would twist my ankle or something stupid the day before, so I stayed relaxed and only took a nice walk. Even though I wasn’t running the whole 42km Rotterdam Marathon I felt it was also important that I also eat pasta for dinner, like the pros! But of course to help with my energy.

On the day of the marathon I woke up at 8am with plenty of time to have breakfast, stretch and also to prepare myself with courage! Lennart joined me to the start line, where I met my fitness friend called Bee who I would be running with. He took some photos of us and wished us both luck, which I know I definitely needed. The last few months of training had been good and improved, but I had never actually reached running 10km in one run… making 7.5/8km the most I had ran in one run without stopping. Now you can see why I was nervous!

Turning my new Fitbit Charge HR on active sport mode and waiting in the starting stage I was ready. We all lined up and the countdown began, trigged by a starting gun and a green waving flag that its go time! Right from the start it was an amazing experience, people cheering, music blasting out on different streets along the route and a strong sense of community between other runners.

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By 3km another ginger person tapped me on the shoulder and started taking Dutch, to ask if I had remembered to put suncream on!! It made a few people laugh around us when I replied that I forgot, since it wasn’t suppose to be so sunny. We were luckily that it wasn’t raining but that it also wasn’t too hot.

By 6km we had made it to the drinks, and you can see on the photo below that I slowed down and the colour changed to orange due to a lower speed. Oh was that water refreshing! By 7.5/8km I was starting to struggle, I wasn’t surprised as this is what I had reached during training and I would always stop from lack of energy. However now I could not stop and I did not want to stop either. You cannot see it on the photo but I did start walking at one point to catch my breath, but I paced my walking at a fast pace and counted to 10 seconds where I started running again. It is super difficult to get back to the same running pace once you start walking so I refused to walk fast more than 10 seconds.

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By 9km I started walking fast again for 10 seconds, but with a push from Bee I was straight back into the running pace. We were back in the city where lots of people were watching and cheering, so this also gave me a big strength to finish the last 1km. I also knew that Lennart would be waiting at the end for me with a massive proud smile on his face!

Oh what was the last bit fantastic, running down the main city street Coolsingel and seeing the finish line in front of you! Knowing that you are only one more minute before you finish and strangers from both sides cheering you on. My name was on my bib with my number and Zoe without the diaeresis (the “two dots” like Zoë) is spoken in Dutch like Zoo, and so every now and then on the last 1km I could hear strangers shouting “Go Zoo!” and “Wooo Zoo!“. So funny to thinking back about it!!

That goal of 1 hour 20 minutes was broken with my finish time of 1 hour 18 minutes!! O-M-G I was so proud of myself! (& still proud) Fantastic!! Unbelievable! Even now when I think back its hard to put into words that feeling of crossing over the finish line, such a sense of accomplishment. Bee and I had done it!

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