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Sports are an important part of Dutch culture, and there are many opportunities to play and exercise in the Netherlands. From football to water sports or even indoor snowboarding, there’s something for everyone – kids and adults alike. Almost every activity has a sports association that can help you find the perfect sports club near you.

National Sports

As in many other countries, football is a national pastime. Some of the world’s best players came from the top Dutch football clubs: Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV and more. And national pride wells up particularly when the Dutch national men’s team plays in an international tournament. Many come together to watch international games at cafés and bars, all dressed in orange, and even the streets get decorated with orange flags and posters.

But football is only one of the main Dutch sports. Professional athletes in the Netherlands also tend to do very well in hockey and winter sports, especially speed skating. Many Dutch people have a pair of ice skates at home to take out in the winter, either to ice rinks such as the Uithof or, in very cold weather, on canals and ponds that have frozen over. The famous, though rarely occurring Elfstedentocht, which requires prolonged freezing temperatures, is a race over frozen canals and rivers in the province of Friesland, passing through 11 towns.

Outdoors in the Netherlands

Even if you don’t like high-intensity sports, there are plenty of options for gentler exercise and places to explore in the Netherlands. Outdoor activities from hiking to biking can be done at the many national parks, and more than 37,000 km of mostly flat bicycle paths make it easy to cycle across the whole country. If you feel at home in a canoe or a boat, you can also paddle or sail through some of the most extensive networks of waterways in the world: in rivers, lakes, ponds and canals, past endless dikes and polders. 

Sports in The Hague

The Hague region alone is home to 440 km of cycling trails and 11 km of coastline, making it perfect for water sports. In particular, Scheveningen is a mecca for surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers. And there are 271 sports clubs for both adults and children, plus as many as 194 sports fields.

But what if it’s raining? (Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence.) Thankfully, there are many opportunities for indoor sports in The Hague. Try skating or snowboarding at the Uithof, for example. If you prefer gyms and indoor exercise classes, take a look at using a smart gym pass app: for a monthly subscription, you can experiment with different workouts across many gyms. 

Swimming is a common hobby (and Dutch children get swimming lessons at some schools). You can swim in the sea, and there are also many indoor and outdoor swimming pools in The Hague.

Otherwise, if you prefer to be a spectator, football is your best bet: head to a match by ADO Den Haag, the local football club.

Find a sports club in The Hague at the Heel Den Haag Sport website (in Dutch).

International sport groups in The Hague

Rugby and Gaelic Football
Yachting and sailing
Ultimate Frisbee

Sport Outside The Hague

There are also plenty of sporting opportunities in the towns surrounding The Hague. In nearby Delft, there are over 100 sports clubs. For many of these, you can get discounts on your membership with a Delftpas. Rijswijk also has a huge variety of sports clubs, both indoor and outdoor.


If you have more free time at your disposure, check out our list of top things to do in The Hague, and find out more about the city’s cultural life

And if you are a student, also see our separate article on student sports.