Dutch sports

Around 4.5 million of the 16 million people living in Holland are signed up to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country with two-thirds of the population over the age of 15 regularly participating in sporting events on a weekly basis. Like most countries Football is the most popular sport with field hockey and volleyball close behind. As well as the usual well known sports the Dutch partake in their own unique sports.


Translated as ‘far-leaping’ this sport sees participants wielding a long pole between 8 and 13 meters long with a flat round plate attached to the bottom. Competitors sprint to the pole, jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top of the pole whilst trying to control its forward and lateral movements over a body of water. The objective is to cross a river or canal without falling in. The sport is believed to have originated with farmers who used poles to leap over small water drainage channels to access different plots of land.


Alternatively known as Frisian Handball as it is commonly played in the Dutch province of Friesland, the game is similar to American Handball. The game is played on a rectangular pitch by two teams of three players. The rules are very confusing for more information look here:


Translated as ‘Ball shooting’ this sport is very popular in the East of the Netherlands and parts of Germany. Players try to throw a ball (the kloot) as far as they can. There are three styles: street, field and standing. In field Klootschieten the objective is to reach a particular area of grass in as few throws as possible. It’s similar to golf except you chuck the ball rather than it hit it with a stick.

The street version is similar to the filed one except that it takes part in an urban area and has a heavier ball (potential for breaking windows increases). The standing variety is different in that players see how high they can throw the ball.  Whoever throws the highest and furthest wins the match.


This is a team game comprised of two mixed gender teams of eight, four male and four female. The sport was founded in 1902 and has similarities to netball and basketball.  A Korfball match consists of two half’s lasting 30 minutes. Two men and two women are in one zone with the others in another zone. During the match they cannot switch zones. At the beginning of the match one team chooses one half of the court. That half will be their defending zone, with ‘their’ basket in it. Players score by throwing the ball through the opponents’ basket. After two goals, the teams change zones: defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders. In between those zone-changes, attackers cannot set foot on their defending zone or vice versa. At half-time teams swap halves. The winner is the team who has scored the most baskets.