Day 21: Back Home!|
BEIJING (China) / AMSTERDAM (Netherlands) - The Dutch Olympic Team arrived back home safely on Monday, August 25 after a 9 1/2 hour flight and received a Welcome Home Party in the historic Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.
The day started early for the Olympic Team in Beijing, but clearing customs at the Beijing Capital International Airport went quick and so everyone was ready to return after a long period away from home.
The Dutch olympic Softball Team had been away for five weeks, as it was in Japan before traveling to Beijing.
The Dutch Olympic Baseball Team was away for a little over four weeks, as it prepared itself in Korea, before coming to the Chinese capital.
Other athletes also had preparations abroad before coming to Beijing, so everyone was ready to go home again and be reunited with their loved ones and family.
The KLM Boeing 747-400 'Guayaquil' left the gate at the Beijing Airport at 11:38 AM local time, then departed at 11:55 AM.
The plane, nicknamed 'Orange Beijing Express', not only carried the almost entire Dutch Olympic Team, but also representatives of the Netherlands Olympic Committee, sponsors and members of the press, including camera crews of NOS Studio Sport, who made interviews during the flight.
Captain of the flight was Kees Meeuwsen, while Marjolein Jacobs was the purser and they headed a cabin crew, who received everyone with a welcome drink in a special created glass, which was a present to keep.
For the record, the plane's weight was 360.000 kilograms, had 160.000 liters of fuel and on the runway reached its departure-speed of 320 kilometers an hour in one minute.
Once we took off from the Beijing Airport, the plane took a northern route towards Amsterdam and reached a ground speed of more than 900 kilometers an hour to span the 7880 km (4857 miles) between the Chinese and Dutch capital.
Captain Meeuwsen guided his plane smoothly to Amsterdam. The plane had gotten special permission for a unique approach to Schiphol International Airport, as it flew at a low altitude above the Olympic Stadium, where spectactors and loved ones were awaiting the team.
When we were above the Stadium, the plane made some movements to wave to the crowd, which was not only a special sight from the Stadium, but for us aboard was a special feeling, like we were in a rollercoaster.
The plane then had to gain speed again to make a circle above the city of Amsterdam to get lined up for the runway, where we touched down at 3:35 PM local time.
At Schiphol-Oost, the plane was received with a welcoming shower by the Airport Firecrew, then parked at a special place.
It was then time for the medal-winners to leaved the plane first, to be followed by the rest of the team and others aboard.
Everyone was received by Peter Hartman, the President of KLM, and all got a present from the oldest airline in the world (founded in 1919) and the Drum Band of the Royal Air Force.
Once everyone boarded special busses, it took awhile before they left the airport, as all the luggage had to be loaded off the plane.
After almost an hour, the busses left, escorted by police and two Apaches-helicopters in the air, en route to the Olympic Stadium.
Across the road to the historic stadium, where the Olympic Games in 1928 was held, people watched and waved to the team.
At the Olympic Stadium, the Dutch Olympic Team (which had a record of 242 members) was welcomed by spectators and TV-crews outside, then by 27.000 spectators inside.
Everyone entered the Stadium on a special catwalk with a red carpet to a big stage where singer Wolter Kroes performed.
The 62 medal-winners remained on the stage, while everyone else was guided to the Family-areas to be reunited with their family.
On the stage, Jack van Gelder, one of the anchors of NOS Studio Sport talked with the winners, while Amsterdam's Mayor Job Cohen welcomed the Dutch Olympic Team back home.
Also performing during the Welcom Home Party were singers Jeroen van den Boom, Alain Clark (who also performed during the Olympic Send-Off in Almere on July 3) and Jan Smit, who also had performed in the Holland Heineken House in Beijing a week ago.
Once everyone was reunited with their family and friends, all went home.
While leaving the Stadium, everyone received a gift from the City of Amsterdam, a beautiful and thick (and heavy) book with the complete history of the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
Then, it was time to go home and tell everyone about their unique experiences of the past few weeks.
Next Wednesday, the medal-winners will be received by Dutch Queen Beatrix.
By the way, now the Olympic Games and the international season are over, it doesn't mean that this site will not be updated.
Come back regularly to this site, as news of the Dutch Women Softball Team will be added frequently when available and will remain following the national squad in the future.
The Olympic Games are over and so, the Information Booths are closed
The KLM-crew before they entered the plane at Beijing Capital International Airport
Kristi de Vries and Nathalie Timmermans slept awhile during the flight
And so did almost everyone of the baseball-team
Noémi Boekel and Sandra Gouverneur during the flight
Standing besides Noémi is Bram Wassenaar, a personal coach of the Dutch Track & Field Team,
as is Joachim Schulz, who sits at left. 4x100 m Relay-runner Caimin Douglas checks his luggage
In the back sits Ronald Vetter, an assistant coach of the Track & Field-team
Physical Therapist Rob Oskam in a good mood
Baseball's Danny Rombley and Rebecca Soumeru give a head massage to Judith van Kampen
After arriving in Amsterdam, the medal-winners left the team first
Here, the golden waterpolo-team leaves the plane
The KLM Boeing 747-400 'Guayaquil' parked at Schiphol-Oost
Softball Coaches Rob Walgien and Mary-Ann Hatt walk towards customs
They're followed by Track & Field-athletes Jolanda Keizer (heptathlon) and Eugène Martineau (decathlon)
The Drum Band of the Royal Air Force welcomed the athletes
At right is conductor Sergeant-Major Maarten Pijnenborg
Personnel of Schiphol Airport watched the Dutch Olympic Team leave the plane
The KLM-crew of the 'Orange Beijing Express' waved the Dutch Olympic Team goodbye,
as did KLM-President Peter Hartman and Gerlach Cerfontaine, President of Schiphol Airport
The busses leave for the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam
The KLM Boeing 747-400 'Guayaquil' which brought us from Beijing back home
One of the Apache-helicopters which accompanied the busses to Amsterdam
The athletes enter the Olympic Stadium, being welcomed by fans
Athletes had to walk a catwalk towards the center stage in the Olympic Stadium
Some 27.000 spectators had come to the Olympic Stadium to welcome the team
The 62 medal-winners remained on the stage
Amsterdam's Mayor Job Cohen leaves the stage after welcoming home the team
At right is host Jack van Gelder
Singer Jeroen van den Boom performs during the Welcome Home Party
And so does Jan Smit, singing his popular hits
The Welcome Home Party was broadcasted live by Dutch television
and recorded by several regional channels
Go back to the schedule of the Olympic Games