A good chunk of the Netherlands borders the North Sea and about 50% of the country’s land lies at or below sea level. In fact, “Netherlands” literally means “low countries” or “lowlands”. Why am I spouting random facts about the Dutch relationship to water? Because Nike clearly had this in mind when designing the new Netherlands away kit for the upcoming World Cup.
In contrast to the simple, classy orange and white of the home kit, Nike have brought out a blue/purple kit that reflects the prominence of water in the Dutch life. Subtle design abounds on the jersey, starting with the grid pattern of interlocking chevrons. This fits well with the bright blue near the top blending into imperial purple towards the bottom. With the shorts and socks maintaining the purple, we have a kit that is sure to look sharp on the pitch.
However, the reminder of the dark blue seas that run up to Holland’s coasts does not fully dominate here. They have also decked it out with some impressive orange accents to help the kit pop a little more. Nike’s Swoosh and the new Dutch football crest, both in orange, give the jersey a unique look. The crest is bigger this time around to celebrate the Royal Netherlands Football Association’s (KNVB) 125th anniversary. Don’t overlook the orange on the inside of the sleeves as well. This allows the player to make their own decision on how much orange to add to their shirt, by turning out one sleeve, both, or neither.
Nike Football’s Creative Director Martin Lotti praised the “youthful” design of this away jersey. Unfortunately, that isn’t something you can say about the Oranje coming into this summer’s World Cup. Most of their star players will be over 30 (van Persie, Robben, Huntelaar, and Sneijder) and their best young midfielder, Roma’s Kevin Strootman, will miss the World Cup with a knee injury. After a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign that saw them lose all three group matches, the Dutch enter Brazil’s World Cup in Group B with Spain, Chile, and Australia. Experience isn’t an issue, but I’m not sure they will be able to hang with the younger Chile side, in what will surely be the match to decide who moves on with Spain.
Rounding out this jersey is the very cool font on the player name and numbers created by legendary Dutch designer Wim Crouwel. The lines inside the numbers give it an attractive retro, yet modern aesthetic. Lastly, you can expect all of Nike’s best technology on this kit. With their laser-cut holes venting the shirt and the shorts for maximum cooling, while the slim fit helps for the best athletic movement possible. Holland officially will be looking fantastic for World Cup 2014.