ESN Utrecht Sports Netherlands

Sports in the Netherlands

How do you stay healthy during your student life? What you eat is important, but at the same time, exercise is an important part of your health. If you are in the Netherlands, you might want to try some of the traditional and popular Dutch sports! But what are the famous sports in the Netherlands? In this article, we will tell you about some of the best sports in the Netherlands and how you can play them


Football (Soccer)

The most popular sport in the Netherlands is football, also called as soccer! The Netherlands is one of the strongest soccer nations in the world, having been runner-up in the FIFA World Cup and also ranking in high position.

       In the early 1970s, the Netherlands adopted the “total football” system, which appoints players who can play both offense and defense, and this became one of the characteristics of Dutch football. The combination of tall Dutch players and this system sounds great for soccer, doesn’t it? When you watch a game, it would be interesting to pay attention to the versatility of the players.

      Mick O’Connells Irish Pub is one of the pubs where you can watch football games. There are many sports bars in Utrecht, so please find your favorite place and join in the fun with the people around you. It will be a great memory!

The USVV Odysseus ’91 soccer team practices at Olympos, the sports center in Utrecht Science Park. This team has both men’s and women’s teams that practice once or twice a week and have games on Saturdays. Sounds like a lot of fun!

You have to register as a member of Olympos and pay a membership fee to the team, but it is a great way to play on the biggest student soccer team in Utrecht. Plus, there are fun activities that will help you get to know everyone on the team, make friends, and help you have a fulfilling life in the Netherlands. For more information, please click here.

Or would you prefer to gather a group of friends and enjoy soccer? You can rent a football pitch from Olympos for free if you have an OlymPas. In case your group members do not have an OlymPas, you can purchase a DayPass to use the pitch with them. For more information about pitch rental, please click here.


Field Hockey

Did you know that field hockey is a popular sport in the Netherlands as well? The rules of hockey are similar to those of soccer, but there are some differences, such as unlimited substitutions of players.

The Netherlands has a hockey league, the ‘Hoofdklasse’ (Head Class) league being the top league. The abilities polished by the tough competition within the Netherlands are also accepted in the world, and the world ranking is quite high for both men and women. Field hockey is a sport that the Dutch people have traditionally been passionate about for over 100 years. 

There are two hockey “seasons”, one from September to December and the other from March to June. Hockey is enjoyed by people of all ages, from little children to adults. One of the attractions of hockey in the Netherlands is that teams are divided by player level so that everyone can enjoy the game at their own level. It is also a popular sport among students, and you will see students riding their bicycles with holding hockey sticks to their university classes.

Games are also broadcast live on TV, so you can enjoy the game even if you cannot go to the stadium. Especially during the end of the league season, there is a live broadcast every Sunday, and the whole country is excited to see the live games and the outcome of them.

Do you want to play field hockey but have never played before and are anxious about that?

Don’t worry! The Utrechtse Studenten Hockey Club (U.S.H.C.), a club team at Olympos, has a beginners team, so even beginners can have fun playing field hockey. Like a soccer club team, you need to register with an OlymPas and pay a membership fee to the team, but playing hockey with people of all ages on the vast flat land that is unique to the Netherlands is an experience that is hard to find elsewhere. The team also allows you to choose not to play in the games, but only to participate in the practices, so you will be able to genuinely enjoy the sport of field hockey without any pressure. Also, the environment is great for getting to know the team members, such as going to the club cafe or skiing activities. For more information, please click here.


Wrapping Up

So far, we have introduced the top two most popular sports in the Netherlands.

Exercising by cycling on a daily basis is great, but exercising in a sport that is uniquely Dutch is surely an element of a great Dutch life! Even just watching a game can be an exciting experience.

In the Netherlands, there are many other sports that can be enjoyed by many people easily, such as ice skating.

Try out Dutch sports and make great memories while staying here!

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