The Dutch are crazy about speedskating – in a good way

Trey Kerby

If you're from the Netherlands, there's a good chance you love long-track speedskating and the color orange. The orange is understandable since it's the color of the country's royal family. But the speedskating? That's weird.

Long-track speedskating is a race against the clock. For 12 to 24 laps, skaters silently glide around their oval track, hoping to beat the time of their competitors. It's like watching a runner training and they're trying to top their personal best. But the Dutch love it.

Time's Sean Gregory talked to some Dutch skating fans to see just why they enjoy the sport so much. The reasons are hilarious.

When you ask Dutch fans to explain why they get so psyched for this sport, they often leave you feeling even less enthused about it. "I like counting the laps," says Jeanine Renden, who along with her husband was wearing an orange wig with two lions perched at the top (like on the Dutch coat of arms). "It's exciting." Not nearly as exciting as her hairdo. If counting isn't your thing, you can always stare at the scoreboard. "It's [very] exciting to compare the times," says Dutch fan Eric Vanserstraadan, who was sporting two Dutch flags, one painted on each cheek.

Counting laps? Watching scoreboards? Do the Dutch also like competitive grass-growing?

The best part of Dutch speedskating fandom is the marching band they bring with them, Kleintje Pils. You read that right. The Dutch bring their own marching band with them to speedskating events. In fact, after the Netherlands' Sven Kramer won gold this year, the band lead the crowd in "We Are the Champions," "We Will Rock You," and some Dutch anthems. That's awesome.

Basically, this group of people sounds like the perfect way to watch long-track speedskating. It might sound boring, but apparently there's tons of fun to be had. Especially if there's a band playing Queen songs.