orange nazi helmet 88.
(photo credit: )
A Dutch company is selling replica Nazi helmets bearing pro-Dutch slogans in an early attempt to cash in on German-Dutch rivalry going into this summer's World Cup in Germany.
The orange plastic helmets, which cost â‚¬5 (US$6), have small Dutch flags printed on the side and bear slogans such as "Attack!" and "Go, Netherlands Go" in Dutch.
The Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II is still a sensitive subject 60 years later. Many Dutch harbor lingering resentment that sometimes is played out in the countries' fierce soccer rivalry.
Frank Huizinga of the Netherlands soccer association is not amused by the helmet stunt.
"We reject every link between soccer and the war," Huizinga said. "There are so many ways you can make a joke, but this is too obvious to be funny, it shows no creativity at all."
Weno Geerts, director of Free Time Products, the company selling the helmets, said critics should lighten up.
"There's no political message here," Geerts said. "It's just a joke. We're making fun of Germans, just like they like to make fun of us."
After the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, German pranksters started a Web site themed "Where's Holland?"
The Dutch lost to Germany in the 1974 World Cup final, but beat their rivals in the semifinals of the 1988 European Championship and went on to win the title.
The last time German and Dutch supporters clashed seriously was after a friendly match in 1996. The two teams are in separate groups at this year's World Cup and won't meet unless both advance to the later rounds.