‘Orange madness:’ Meet the man behind the viral dance craze sweeping Euro 2024

A dance tune with two simple instructions and involving thousands of bouncing, orange-clad soccer fans has gone viral at this year’s European Championships.

‘Links Rechts’ or ‘Left Right’ by ‘Snollebollekes’ has become the unofficial anthem of the Dutch national team and videos of fans dancing in their thousands before matches have spread joy around the world.

The song is simple – in the best possible way – and listeners are enthusiastically waiting to follow along to the catchy chorus.

Prompted by the song, fans link arms and jump to the left. Then, when told, they switch direction and all jump right together.

It might sound straightforward enough, but the sight of thousands of fans dressed in orange dancing and singing in unison while walking to the game has been something to behold at Euro 2024.

Even the Dutch players performed the song on the pitch after beating Turkey in the quarterfinals on Sunday, while the Berlin Police and the Leipzig fire service have even gotten involved on social media.

“I never get used to it, so it stays magic,” Snollebollekes lead singer Rob Kemps tells CNN Sport, reflecting on how the song has been embraced by so many people.

“The extra magic for me right now is that it’s going viral not only in Holland, but also in Germany and a lot of other countries. So that’s very special for me.”

Kemps is a comedian by trade but was asked to front Snollebollekes over 10 years ago, after the founders were encouraged to keep producing what he calls “fun” and “very popular” songs. He accepted and started singing with the band.

In the early days, when performing another song, Kemps would get the crowd to wave left and right – a move that would go on to inspire ‘Links Rechts,’ which was written and then released in 2015.

“We thought if they are crazy enough to wave from left to right, let’s see if they are crazy enough to jump from left to right,” he says, as he reflected on the dance craze which has arguably become Euro 2024’s unofficial soundtrack.

“And actually everybody is, so that’s how it began.”

Dutch players dance to 'Links Rechts' on the pitch after beating Turkey in the quarterfinals. - John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images
Dutch players dance to 'Links Rechts' on the pitch after beating Turkey in the quarterfinals. - John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Kemps doesn’t consider himself a “serious singer” but more of a “showman” and he’s been busy putting that to the test in Germany this year.

Ahead of the Netherlands’ group game against France, Kemps went to Leipzig to help entertain the Dutch fans before the match started.

He stood on an open-top bus and orchestrated the fans jumping left and right, footage of which was shared millions of times on social media.

While Dutch people have sung and danced to the song for years, Kemps says fans of Dutch soccer started adopting it after the women’s team won the European Championship in 2017.

He had performed the dance hit during the celebrations in Utrecht and it quickly caught on – it’s since been seen at Formula 1 races, when Dutch fans celebrate Max Verstappen, and even at the Tour de France.

“I call it the orange madness,” Kemps says. “Everybody wants to be a part of it. I think that’s the power of the song and also from the hype right now. When you see it, you want to be a part of that. You want to be there.”

Rob Kemps is lead singer of the group called Snollebollekes. - Berk Music
Rob Kemps is lead singer of the group called Snollebollekes. - Berk Music

‘A feeling of unity’

Guido Pauw, 29, is one of the thousands of Dutch fans who have embraced the song at this year’s Euros and has traveled to Germany to watch the Netherlands play twice already.

Despite not having a ticket, he is heading to Dortmund on Wednesday to soak up the atmosphere created by the ‘Oranje Parade’ – a name given to the thousands of Dutch fans who walk to the stadium before matches – ahead of the Netherlands’ semifinal against England.

“It’s amazing. It’s a great feeling. Maybe what’s most special is looking at people standing beside the fan walk, like the German people who live there because everyone has got their phone out, everyone’s hanging out of the window to look,” Pauw tells CNN Sport, describing what it feels like to be in the middle of the dance.

“Especially when this song comes on, you see everyone grabbing their phones and enjoying the moment.”

Like many others in the Netherlands, Pauw was aware of the “party song” before it became associated with the soccer team, but says it’s adopted a deeper meaning after going viral at this year’s tournament.

“We as Dutch people can be a little critical towards ourselves,” he explains. “But a moment like that, in a foreign city, with Dutch people side to side, gives a feeling of unity that we don’t see that often in our country. So it’s amazing.”

The Netherlands will face England in the semifinals in Dortmund on Wednesday, with the winner facing Spain in the final on Sunday.

Should the Netherlands find a way past Gareth Southgate’s side, there is surely only one way they’ll be celebrating.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Advertisement