It is time for our only Dutch teammate – Marnix van der Galien. Quite unbelievable he’s the only Dutch, since the border is so close to us in Cologne but he is holding up the „Oranje“ flag quite well. Fun fact: The national anthem „Het Wilhelmus“, written and sung in the 16th century, is probably the oldest national anthem in the world (if you add the lyrics and melody together). Have a look how he came to the Domstadt and a sneak peak of „Dutch war fries“, a very delicious Dutch food.
Hi Marnix, it’s good to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from and what brings you to Cologne?
I was born in Amsterdam. When I was four we moved to the Michigan (USA), where we lived until I was 10. We moved to a nice town called Bergen, in the north of Holland. My job is what brought me to Cologne. I was searching for a job on LinkedIn, to which I applied. Before I knew it I got the position and I moved to Cologne.
Do you have any funny stories to tell about your life in Cologne?
Not that I can think of.
(Editor’s note: Haha, we get it. You’re in Germany, we don’t have fun. We work.)
Is there anything you miss from the Netherlands?
Normally people would say some type of food, but I have that covered. There is a Belgian bar (which the Cologne-Dutch have annexed) that serves my much needed “Bitterballen” and “Patatje Oorlog”.
I miss my family. Especially during the Corona crisis, where it was near to impossible to drive back and forth.
How did you come across the Cologne Celtics?
I was playing rugby in the park with Stephen, our former chairperson. He tried to tackle me but couldn’t. He suggested coming to training with the Cologne Celts, but it took me over 6 months to actually go to one of the trainings.
How would you describe hurling and Gaelic Football? Is there a difference between them and more “traditional sports” in Germany/Netherlands like football etc.?
We have field hockey, rugby and baseball in the Netherlands. I generally describe it as a mixture between field hockey, baseball, with a touch of rugby.
In Germany, it seems everyone loves Ireland straight away, even if you’ve never been there. What’s your story with the Emerald Isle?
When I joined the team, I felt pretty welcome. After a couple of rounds on the field, as well as in the pub with the lads, I started to love Ireland.
I met my current girlfriend at one of the Celts‘ training sessions, who was on Erasmus from Dublin. In the beginning of 2020, we first travelled to Ireland together, just before the seriousness of the pandemic had hit.
How would you convince those who are interested but have not yet joined in to join their local GAA club?
Why not give it a try? Come to training! The game will probably look intimidating at first, but it’s not too bad in the end. The game itself is not very complicated, it’s just high paced madness.