The Netherlands is a sporting nation

More than half the Dutch population participates in sport on a weekly basis. Fitness training and running are the most popular sports among adults. Government interventions at the level of neighbourhoods, primary schools, secondary schools and sports clubs are intended to persuade more people to take part in sport and exercise, and to support this in a healthy and responsible manner. The sports sector employs 150,000 people, and one and a half million Dutch people volunteer in sports clubs and associations every month.

Guide to Sports and Physical Activity in the Netherlands

An overview of facts and figures is available in the Guide to Sports and Physical Activity in the Netherlands that Knowledge Centre for Sport Netherlands issued in October 2017.

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In terms of sport, the Dutch pride themselves on their strong traditions, especially in swimming, football and speed-skating. The country always aims for a top 10 position in the Olympic medal tables.

With 17.1 million inhabitants and 34,000 km of land, the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. With the sea and a multitude of lakes, rivers and canals close by, water is a crucial element of Dutch society and thus; sports.

National Knowledge Agenda Sport and Exercise

With the Knowledge Agenda we are developing a sustainable partnership between universities, universities of applied sciences, sport, local and national government and industry. The Agenda is a unique collection of all research relevant for sport and exercise, expresses a clear vision and strategy, has a strong content and is future proof.

Download the National Knowledge Agenda Sport and Exercise (PDF)

Important Sport related developments in the Netherlands

  • increasing investment in knowledge and innovation. Exciting innovations are boosted by the National program Sportinnovator (Dutch only).
  • the joint Agenda on Sport and Physical Activity in the Netherlands is an ambitious collaboration with shared goals between all universities with a sport orientation, knowledge partners, government and other stakeholders.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is the Ministry in the Netherlands that is responsible for Sport.