The Euro2000 soccer tournament has captured the attention of the Netherlands in the past few weeks, with stadiums full of spectators and bars full of fans glued to television sets, screaming for their favorite teams. But one group of Dutch citizens isn't interested in the sport at all -- the nation's prostitutes.
Apparently, everybody is too caught up in football fever to consider visiting brothels, escort clubs and massage parlors in search of sexual services, and that has the hookers steamed, reports Dutch news agency ANP.
The bustling sex trade in the Hague has dropped off considerably because of Euro2000, said a spokesman for the town's brothels. "It's enormously quiet during the matches. After that, customers begin to drift in, but then we have to close."
About half of the Hague's hookers have moved their operations to towns where Euro2000 matches are taking place, hoping to provide services for fans in need of sexual relief. Other prostitutes have resorted to working only in the afternoons, and some have surrendered to the sport and taken a holiday until the end of the three-week tournament.
Amsterdam's red-light district reported that business has not increased at all as a result of Euro2000. The usual visitors and tourist population are gone, and haven't been replaced by soccer supporters.
"We are seeing many people wearing the shirts of their country," said Mariska Majoor of the Prostitutes Information Center. Majoor added that most of the new wave of customers are English -- but Dutch prostitutes apparently are not keen on citizens of England as clients. "They are a either a pain in the backside or too drunk to perform."