Company making nazi helmets with pro-Dutch slogans

January 11, 2006

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- A Dutch company is selling replica Nazi helmets bearing pro-Dutch slogans in an early attempt to cash in on the German-Dutch soccer rivalry going into this summer's World Cup in Germany.

The orange plastic helmets, which cost $6, have small Dutch flags printed on the side and bear slogans such as "Attack!" and "Go, Netherlands Go" in Dutch.

The Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II is still a sensitive subject 60 years later.

Frank Huizinga of the Netherlands soccer association is not amused by the helmet stunt.

"We reject every link between soccer and the war," Huizinga said. "There are so many ways you can make a joke, but this is too obvious to be funny, it shows no creativity at all."

Weno Geerts, director of Free Time Products, the company selling the helmets, said critics should lighten up.

"There's no political message here," Geerts said. "It's just a joke. We're making fun of Germans, just like they like to make fun of us."

The Dutch lost to Germany in the 1974 World Cup final, but beat their rivals in the semifinals of the 1988 European Championship and went on to win the title. The teams are in separate groups at this year's World Cup and won't meet unless both advance to the later rounds.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press