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Music

Hand in hand comrades!

Feyenoord fans have a longstanding penchant for the thumping beats of hardcore techno, but nothing quite gets their pulses racing like the gentle throwback vibe of the Rotterdam club’s anthem

WORDS Derek Brookman | ILLUSTRATION Joren Joshua

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

What makes this anthem so intriguing is that it stands in stark contrast to the other great musical passion in this part of the world: hardcore techno. Rotterdam was instrumental in the emergence of ‘gabber’ music in the early 1990s. Described as “a relentless mix of superfast BPMs, distorted kickdrums and roared vocals”, gabber was (and still is) a staple at raves. If you wandered past the Feyenoord fan zone in downtown Tirana on the morning of the Europa Conference League final in 2022, you may have thought you were witnessing the tail end of an all-night dance party. The speakers were cranking out industrialesque, distorted drum and bass at an ear-shredding volume. 

Which raises the question: how can a support that loves hyper-fast electronic dance music also embrace schmaltzy singalong songs like Hand in Hand, Kameraden and Feyenoord, Feyenoord, Wat Gaan We Doen Vandaag? (Feyenoord, Feyenoord, What Will We Do Today?), sung to the tune of Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)?

“I think Hand in Hand, Kameraden typifies Rotterdam,” says Robert Sweetlake, a Feyenoord season-ticket holder who also takes his 15-year-old son to games. “We don’t need anything fancy. It’s an easy song to sing – everyone knows the words. My son learned it when he was eight. And the song was written specifically for the club. What more do you want?” 

He also points out that it’s not just an anthem for when Feyenoord take to the pitch. “That’s what we sing when things aren’t going particularly well during the game. It’s the motivational song that lets the players know we’re behind them. Geen woorden, maar daden – not words, but actions. That’s Rotterdam. That’s Feyenoord.” This dovetails perfectly with the cliché about the difference between three of the Netherlands’ main cities: money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam. 

“We don’t need anything fancy. It’s an easy song to sing. My son learned it when he was eight”

Like Sweetlake says, Hand in Hand, Kameraden was indeed created especially for Feyenoord. There are many versions of the song, but the most popular was released by Jaap Plugers, under his stage name Jacky van Dam. Plugers was a born-and-bred Rotterdammer who worked at the port and in dredging after the war. In 1957, he became a doorman at the Oase Bar, which had been taken over by jazz musician, singer and lyricist Jaap Valkhoff. 

Plugers’ granddaughter Tiffany told De Volkskrant that, “My grandfather, who had a golden voice, once asked Valkhoff to write a song about him. Valkhoff went away with his accordion and returned ten minutes later with a song that eventually sold 300,000 copies.” Some time later, another Dutch singer, Johnny Hoes, came to Valkhoff with Hand in Hand, Kameraden – a song with a 50-year-old chorus that had been set to music again by Hoes. Valkhoff wrote a Feyenoord version with two verses featuring players of the time and Plugers, as Jacky van Dam, recorded it.

Like so much these days, the internet absolutely hums with theories about the ‘real’ origins of this song. That it was originally an Ajax anthem. That it has its roots in a German march from less salubrious times. Or that singing footballer Abe Lenstra’s ditty from 1958, Geen Woorden, Maar Daden (a line which features in the chorus of the Feyenoord song) inspired it.

In that respect, it makes you think of the recent court case in which Ed Sheeran was cleared of plagiarising Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On when he wrote Thinking Out Loud in 2014. As Sheeran said in his defence, the chord progressions in the two songs are similar but are “commonplace musical building blocks” that have turned up in countless other songs as well – a selection of which he played on his guitar in the courtroom to illustrate the point. Hand in Hand, Kameraden was almost certainly inspired by other songs, but nonetheless it remains a unique ode to the club, a love song cherished by dockers, shaven-headed ravers and starry-eyed kids alike.

“Ajax play Bloed, Zweet en Tranen by André Hazes before their matches and Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds after half-time,” says Sweetlake. “PSV come out on the pitch to Simply the Best. And that’s fine, but those songs aren’t about the clubs. Ours is. That’s the difference.” 

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Hand in hand comrades!
Music

Hand in hand comrades!

Feyenoord fans have a longstanding penchant for the thumping beats of hardcore techno, but nothing quite gets their pulses racing like the gentle throwback vibe of the Rotterdam club’s anthem

WORDS Derek Brookman | ILLUSTRATION Joren Joshua

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

What makes this anthem so intriguing is that it stands in stark contrast to the other great musical passion in this part of the world: hardcore techno. Rotterdam was instrumental in the emergence of ‘gabber’ music in the early 1990s. Described as “a relentless mix of superfast BPMs, distorted kickdrums and roared vocals”, gabber was (and still is) a staple at raves. If you wandered past the Feyenoord fan zone in downtown Tirana on the morning of the Europa Conference League final in 2022, you may have thought you were witnessing the tail end of an all-night dance party. The speakers were cranking out industrialesque, distorted drum and bass at an ear-shredding volume. 

Which raises the question: how can a support that loves hyper-fast electronic dance music also embrace schmaltzy singalong songs like Hand in Hand, Kameraden and Feyenoord, Feyenoord, Wat Gaan We Doen Vandaag? (Feyenoord, Feyenoord, What Will We Do Today?), sung to the tune of Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)?

“I think Hand in Hand, Kameraden typifies Rotterdam,” says Robert Sweetlake, a Feyenoord season-ticket holder who also takes his 15-year-old son to games. “We don’t need anything fancy. It’s an easy song to sing – everyone knows the words. My son learned it when he was eight. And the song was written specifically for the club. What more do you want?” 

He also points out that it’s not just an anthem for when Feyenoord take to the pitch. “That’s what we sing when things aren’t going particularly well during the game. It’s the motivational song that lets the players know we’re behind them. Geen woorden, maar daden – not words, but actions. That’s Rotterdam. That’s Feyenoord.” This dovetails perfectly with the cliché about the difference between three of the Netherlands’ main cities: money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam. 

“We don’t need anything fancy. It’s an easy song to sing. My son learned it when he was eight”

Like Sweetlake says, Hand in Hand, Kameraden was indeed created especially for Feyenoord. There are many versions of the song, but the most popular was released by Jaap Plugers, under his stage name Jacky van Dam. Plugers was a born-and-bred Rotterdammer who worked at the port and in dredging after the war. In 1957, he became a doorman at the Oase Bar, which had been taken over by jazz musician, singer and lyricist Jaap Valkhoff. 

Plugers’ granddaughter Tiffany told De Volkskrant that, “My grandfather, who had a golden voice, once asked Valkhoff to write a song about him. Valkhoff went away with his accordion and returned ten minutes later with a song that eventually sold 300,000 copies.” Some time later, another Dutch singer, Johnny Hoes, came to Valkhoff with Hand in Hand, Kameraden – a song with a 50-year-old chorus that had been set to music again by Hoes. Valkhoff wrote a Feyenoord version with two verses featuring players of the time and Plugers, as Jacky van Dam, recorded it.

Like so much these days, the internet absolutely hums with theories about the ‘real’ origins of this song. That it was originally an Ajax anthem. That it has its roots in a German march from less salubrious times. Or that singing footballer Abe Lenstra’s ditty from 1958, Geen Woorden, Maar Daden (a line which features in the chorus of the Feyenoord song) inspired it.

In that respect, it makes you think of the recent court case in which Ed Sheeran was cleared of plagiarising Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On when he wrote Thinking Out Loud in 2014. As Sheeran said in his defence, the chord progressions in the two songs are similar but are “commonplace musical building blocks” that have turned up in countless other songs as well – a selection of which he played on his guitar in the courtroom to illustrate the point. Hand in Hand, Kameraden was almost certainly inspired by other songs, but nonetheless it remains a unique ode to the club, a love song cherished by dockers, shaven-headed ravers and starry-eyed kids alike.

“Ajax play Bloed, Zweet en Tranen by André Hazes before their matches and Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds after half-time,” says Sweetlake. “PSV come out on the pitch to Simply the Best. And that’s fine, but those songs aren’t about the clubs. Ours is. That’s the difference.” 

Find yourself at Feyenoord’s De Kuip home ground on a matchday, and there will be plenty of things you can’t fail to notice. The upper tiers of the terracing actually bouncing when the fans get going. Up-tempo dance music being pumped through the speakers at such volumes that it’s nigh-on impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you. And then, as the players emerge from the tunnel, the stadium DJ playing the most unexpected of songs…

“Hand in hand, kameraden, hand in hand voor Feyenoord 1.

Geen woorden, maar daden, leve Feyenoord 1.”

“Hand in hand, comrades, hand in hand for Feyenoord 1.

Not words, but actions, long live Feyenoord 1.”

A celebration of the club’s first team, it sounds like a music-hall ballad from the 1950s. An accordion plays the melody, backed up by some jaunty work on a snare drum. The singer’s voice rises above tight harmonies, almost reminiscent of a barbershop choir. And the lyrics? Hand in hand? Comrades? It feels so anachronistic, harking back to a vanished, pre-pesto, hummus and latte macchiato era of solidarity, simplicity, carefree living and honest-to-goodness values.

“Ga je mee naar ’t stadion naar de ploeg van rood en wit? Je zoekt een plekje in de zonwaar je zo gezellig zit...”

“Are you coming to the stadium to see the team in red and white? You search for a spot in the sun where everything’s all right...”

The thing is, more or less everybody around you will be belting this song out as if it’s the last one they’ll ever sing. De Kuip is regarded as the most atmospheric stadium in the Netherlands, and this particular ditty really means something to Feyenoord supporters. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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