Although they might not top the medal count, the Dutch have apparently found one event at the Beijing Olympics that they can excel at: Partying. The WASHINGTON POST has a first-hand account of the Heineken House, the 800,000 square-foot “national house” that is the undisputed gold medal winner as the place to party for revelers. You could say that the Heineken House is hotter than a Dutch oven. And although you might need some Dutch courage to venture inside, once you go you’ll realize that partying there is a real Dutch treat. Get it?
(I sincerely apologize for the horrible puns - I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, but really, there was no need to take it out on you…not like that.)
What does the Heineken House have to offer? As you could guess, lots of beer, along with music, dancing and the type of general, booze-fueled shenanigans. It’s where the Dutch athletes go after winning medals to celebrate with thousands of fans in a setting that feels more like a nightclub than the Olympics. You get the feeling that it’s less “national house” and more “Animal House” - I wonder if they Dutch athletes who are caught using steroids get put on Double Secret Probation.
The Dutch national house stands in stark contrast to other national team’s venues. The Brits go the classy route, with lots of wine, cheese and crackers, along with a healthy dose of snootiness:
The party scene is much different at Great Britain’s London House, as an over-40 crowd in cocktail attire sips white wine at the Chinese-style courtyard outfitted by designer David Grant. “One thousand [drunk] people is not what we want,” says Grant. “If I was having a night off, if I wanted to hang out with 1,000 Dutch backpackers, I might go there.”
And much like the British, the Americans are also practicing a cultural tradition at their house: corporate greed. Jerri Foehrkolb, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s managing director for events and services, says that it’s less a place for fans to hang out and more a place for the USOC to schmooze potential sponsors:
Working at past Olympics, Foehrkolb recalls seeing American fans feel disappointed when turned away at the door. “They understand when we explain what we do. We’re a business, and we’re here to entertain investors. We’re not a place for hospitality.”
She sounds like a real pistol to hang out with. Which is probably why American fans like Crissy Autry are flocking to the Dutch party palace:
“At the Olympics, the U.S. plays well, but the Dutch have good parties,” she says. “It’s just how the Dutch are — the space between people is much smaller.” A Dutch guy she knows comes up, pecks her on the cheek, squeezes her waist and heads off to find a drink. “If I were in the U.S., you’d think he was my boyfriend.”
Somewhere, Andrew W.K. is weeping. But you have to respect the Dutch - they know how to do it right. Somehow I suspect that at least half of those 500,000 condoms being used at the Olympics are going to the Heineken House.