Sport in the Netherlands

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Approximately 4.5 million of the 16 million people in the Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country. About two thirds of the population older than 15 years participates in sports weekly.[1]

Football is the most popular Sport in the Netherlands, with Field hockey and Volleyball as the 2nd and 3rd most popular team Sports. Tennis, Gymnastics and Golf are the 3 most widely played individual sports.[2] A number of native Dutch sports is also practiced, such as Fierljeppen (Polsstokverspringen), Beugelen, Kaatsen, Klootschieten, Kolven and Korfball.

Organization of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established (such as the speed skating federation in 1882), rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence. A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in 1912. Thus far the nation has won 230 medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 78 medals at the Winter Olympic Games.

An influential figure in Dutch sport was Pim Mulier. In 1879 he founded the first rugby and football club in the Netherlands, he was involved in forming the first tennis club in 1884, established the predecessor of the Royal Dutch Football Association 5 years later, and introduced field hockey in 1896.


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