Ok, folks, some exciting news. I will be covering World Cup 2010 from a Dutch (and especially Amsterdam) perspective on behalf of Lonely Planet, as part of a team of bloggers in various countries under the Lonely Planet banner.
While there will still be some regular (i.e. non-sports) entries on this site, for the next month you will see a definite orange tint to the posts, with a football-mad country and a team that is currently ranked 4th in the world.
While this doesn't mean a trip to South Africa, I will be covering the scene in various hotspots of Amsterdam, from my dual perspective as an expat and as someone with a foot in Dutch culture too.
The Team van Oranje was last a powerhouse in the 1970's, making it to the finals in '74 and '78 but coming up just short each time, including an agonizing last-minute shot off the post that would have won it against Argentina in 1978.
Dutch soccer royalty (fitting since the formal team name is the KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association - the Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbal Bond if you want real street cred) from years past includes names like Johann Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud Gullit, and Marco van Basten - with Cruyff being the mega-royal. You can literally walk in his shoes all over Holland today, as he has his name on his own high-end line of footwear.
Today's big guns? Top-division clubs across Europe have stellar Dutchmen such as Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), and Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).
There's no end of off-field drama to be seen and heard of as well, with the customary complicated personalities on the team and complicated rivalries on the streets in this multi-national city. There are 177 nationalities represented in Amsterdam, so I suspect every night will be game night!
And we may or may not see the odd coverage of Sneijder's rather attractive partner, whose name is also rather complicated - Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen.
So watch this space for de Dutch details of on-field and off-field action as the world gets ready to go bonkers from June 11-July 11.