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Football fans walk down a Copenhagen street wearing Viking hats and red and white clothes, to celebrate the Euros football championships in Copenhagen, Denmark

Five football traditions that only make sense to Danes

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen, Copenhagen Media Center

If you've been watching the Euros and have questions about Denmark and its football fans, you're in the right place! Let's look at some of our strange football traditions.

The weird clapping hat

What on earth are they wearing? In Denmark, we love to wear a so-called klaphat at matches. A klaphat is a hat with two hands that can clap when you pull a string. It was first patented during the European Champions league in 1984 and really took off during the World Championship in 1986. Today, the hat can still be seen at matches today as a bit of a retro look - however, don't call someone a ‘klaphat’, as it is a derogatory phrase meaning you think they are a ‘fool’.

The swaying and singing

Sometimes fans like to link arms, sway and sing a song that goes: "Vi sejler op af åen, vi sejler nedad igen. Det var vel nok en dejlig sang, den må vi ha’ endnu en gang.”
This is a silly song that literally means "we’re sailing up the river and down again, that’s such a wonderful song, let’s sing it once again”. It’s believed that it originated from a revue song all the way back in 1895 about the river in the city of Odense.

The obsession with red and white

Wearing Denmark's national colours of red and white is a typical way of showing support - beyond wearing a football shirt. You will see all kinds of red and white on display and plenty of flags being waved as we sing: “Vi er røde, vi er hvide, vi står sammen, side om side.” This means: We are red, we are white, we’ll stand together side by side.

The special number 10

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen wears the number 10 on his back, and the tragic cardiac arrest he suffered in the first match in the 2021 Euros has made an impact on everyone watching. His team mates have made several references to honour him along the way and they dedicated their win over Russia to him.

"We’re not going home, we’re going further!"

The Danish football player Joachim Mæhle wrote this Danish phrase on his Twitter profile after Denmark’s 4-1 win over Russia, of which he scored the last goal: "Vi skal ikke hjem, vi skal videre.” Danish commentator Andreas Kraul also yelled the same phrase when Denmark scored their third goal in the 79th minute.

What's it all about? Well, “We’re not going home, we’re going further” is phrase from an old Danish movie from 1971 called ‘The Olsen Gang in Jutland.’ In the movie, the leader of the criminal gang refuses to go home after their plans have failed, and shouts: "We’re not going home, we’re going further!" There is no suggestion that the Danish football team is a band of renegade criminals from Jutland, no, definitely not... 

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