Commentators in the British media may indulge in a fair share of German-bashing, but that's nothing to what I grew up with. Growing up in the Netherlands in the 70s and 80s, anti-German feelings seemed as natural as cheese, skating and gay rights. Germans really were "the other" – humourless closet-fascists who had destroyed the magnificent port of Rotterdam, then occupied and pillaged our country for five years, murdering 80% of our Jews.

It was genuine hatred, often, and never did those feelings boil over more spectacularly than in football – European club football, but even more so in national matches. The apotheosis came with the World Cup final of 1974, when the referee fell for a schwalbe (taking a dive) and awarded Germany an undeserved penalty kick. "We've been had again!", the Dutch commentator exclaimed, alluding to the Nazis' surprise attack in May of 1940.

But 72 years after that infamous invasion, something has changed. Tonight the Netherlands play Germany at Euro 2012 and in some quarters the match again gets billed as Europe's most intense football rivalry. Perhaps. God knows I want the Dutch to win tonight, as do millions of my compatriots. But the shrill undertone seems to have vanished from it all.

Damn! Where have my anti-German feelings gone?

One element must be the European Championships of 1988 when the Dutch beat Germany in Hamburg and went on to win a major football tournament for the first (and last) time. That felt like liberation all over again, and in retrospect it was cathartic. I'm told the Danish went through something similar after beating Germany in 1992 to become European champions.

Then there are the tectonic geo-political shifts. As the Dutch were busy hating the Germans during the cold war, they embraced Anglo-Saxon culture and politics. But in the past decade America elected, then re-elected George W Bush – the antithesis of everything the Dutch hold dear, from abortion to euthanasia to gay rights to environmental responsibility. Trying to be good allies the Dutch (and the Danes) let themselves be dragged into the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile the Germans said "no" from the beginning, famously challenging Donald Rumsfeld by saying "you have to make the case". There was no case, and the Germans called it.

The United States and the United Kingdom deregulated the world of finance, allowing an enormous mortgage fraud for which the Dutch are paying every day. Meanwhile Germany ran the most successful economy in Europe, astutely avoiding a housing boom. These days the Dutch and the German see eye to eye on the need for southern Europe to carry out the same structural reforms that our countries went through. When it comes to the Netherlands' number one foreign policy objective, our chief ally is now Germany.

Did I mention that Germany offers massive subsidies to solar power, catapulting the industry ahead, and promises to phase out nuclear power? It is also the only major economy to take on privacy violators like Google.

And as Germany is becoming a country to look up to, the Netherlands is fast becoming a country to be ashamed of – making anti-German feelings even harder to harbour. For years now the majority in my country has been looking on helplessly as a very loud minority tears up centuries of co-existence and enlightened pragmatism (always cleverly sold to foreigners as "tolerance"). A jihadist murdered film director and columnist Theo van Gogh, who in turn never used the term "Muslims", preferring "goat fuckers" instead. Recently, Theodor Holman, one of the most prominent columnists and playwrights in the country wrote that he felt great affinity with the goals of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik - though not with the means Breivik chose to use. The crypto-fascist PVV party of Geert Wilders is consistently polling in the top three.

But weren't anti-German feelings all about replaying the second world war? Well, over the past decades historians took care of that, all but destroying the myth of the "Dutch resistance". No European country participated as fully with the deportation of Jews, and no European country outside Germany saw so few of them return. Very few European countries saw so many eager volunteers for the eastern front. If the Germans were Hitler's willing executioners, in Daniel Goldhagen's phrase, then the Dutch were Hitler's willing bystanders – or worse.

All of which makes it increasingly hard to project our dark side on the Germans, by now the only major mainland European country to keep its own crypto-fascist fringes in check.

So I'll be there tonight, my face painted and wearing the mandatory orange shirt. I can't be alone in mourning the loss of my superiority complex, and the justification it offered to revel in chauvinistic hysteria. Boy, will I miss shouting "vuile moffen" ("vile Krauts") at the television screen.

The Dutch could start hating the English, of course, given how their politicians abet a financial sector that is fleecing our continent. But it's just not the same. For one thing, the English national team just isn't good enough.

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