Monday, July 12, 2010

The Last Football (Soccer) Post On This Blog Until 2014. (I Promise.)

Spain did it. They won the FIFA World Cup!
They squeezed the Orange dry, sunk the Flying Dutchman.
And a pall hangs over Holambra.
Here are some pictures of the place in happier times.

A product of one of the local industries.

Girls eating that great Dutch specialty, French-fried potatoes served in a paper cone with mayonnaise.
Dutchmen amusing themselves.
The largest windmill in Latin America.
Yeah, that’s right, Latin America.
Holambra, folks, isn’t in Europe.
It’s in Brazil, about a hundred and twenty kilometers from São Paulo.
And, as you can see, it’s full of Dutch folks.
How did that come about?
Well, it’s like this:
After the Second World War, things at home weren’t so good for many of the Dutch farmers.
Few people had money.
Banks weren’t providing loans to agriculture.
There was no market for crops and produce.
Brazil, meanwhile, was booming.
Land and cash were readily available.
So, in 1948, a deal was struck between a group of Dutch farmers and the Brazilian government.
The farmers got 5,000 hectares of land and set up a cooperative.
And the government was supposed to get a dairy industry.
It didn’t work.
The cattle brought from Europe didn’t do well in the Brazilian climate.
So the Dutch, nothing if they aren’t entrepreneurial, started looking around for something else they could do with the land.

They hit on the cultivation of flowers.
Today, Holambra (the name stems from the first three letters of Holland, the first two letters of America, and the first three letters of Brazil) is a city of about 9,000 and the center of Brazil’s floricultural trade.
Expoflora, the largest flower and ornamental plant show in Latin America takes place there each year in September. And attracts about 250,000 visitors.
In the quarter-finals of this year’s FIFA World Cup, many of the good citizens of Holambra  rooted for The Netherlands to knock out Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Which The Netherlands did.
Many of their neighbors, out of sheer schadenfreude, accordingly rooted for Spain to knock out Holland in the final.
Which they did.
Hence the pall that hangs over Holambra.
Today, there's just as much sadness there as in Amsterdam. (Well...almost.)

Leighton - Monday


  1. This reminds me of Solvang the Danish town in California, and the German towns of Southern Indiana.
    But Viva Espana, the best footballers won even though the tournament was a bit dull once the main South American teams were eliminated.
    Thanks for this fascinating post.

  2. Darn! I wanted to do a World Cup blog!
    Well, I can wait till 2014!

  3. anna from connecticutJuly 12, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Hi Leighton,
    Wonderful pictures!! I want to live in one of those colorful condos!?! and just read!!
    Great article about the Dutch in your country. I love to read about emigration, the trials and triumphs which seem to take generations to benefit the families. So many stories out there.
    I love french fries with mayo. They are popular in other parts of the US, too.

    Hi Michael Sears,
    My daughter just picked up A CARRION DEATH for me at the library. I am on my back, in a cast for a while. I wonder which cover the book will have. My library has two copies with different covers.
    Such striking covers! I would love to know more about the artwork.

  4. Michael,
    I do apologize, Dear Blogmate.
    How very inconsiderate of me.
    What I should have written was MY last football post, etc.
    You guys hosted the thing, and no has any more right than you (or Stan) to comment on the Cup.
    And I, for one, would welcome hearing what you have to say.

  5. The colors are so bright that the buildings don't look real. They would be the false fronts along Main Street in Disney World.

    The Netherlands certainly deserves congratulations for that battle in the final. Spain hadn't won previously either so that must have been a bit comforting.


  6. Leighton--

    So something cool did come out of Holland's loss, thanks to your post.

    From now on when any of us hears the word "Brazil," we'll think: Windmills. Wooden shoes. Flower farms. Girls in long skirts and pig-tails.

    Maybe you can write a scene where one of your characters gets kidnapped and knocked out in Sao Paulo, then wakes up in Holambra and wonders why the hell his captors dragged him all the way to the Netherlands.