Sport Agenda 2017+

We dream of the Netherlands becoming a country in which everyone enjoys sport: sport is passion, it is a healthy pursuit, and it brings people together.

Sport can bring out the best in people, help to build friendships, and foster respect. So our goal is to make it possible for absolutely everyone in our society to take part in sport and to enjoy it. We focus on creating the best possible conditions for sports in the Netherlands. We’re interested both in participation and in winning. We want to promote excellence in sport, help people win medals, and also to encourage research.

Our goal is to encourage people to get a little bit better every day, to use sport as a way of fighting obesity, and to make the Netherlands safer – to strengthen its social fabric. Sport has a tremendous impact on society. The country’s 25,000-odd sports clubs make up an important and unique basis of its social infrastructure. Furthermore, sport keeps millions of people fit and helps those with chronic diseases to improve their health. Sports champions inspire people to do their very best. They instil a sense of national pride and connectedness in society and present a positive image of the Netherlands in an international context.

Major sports events held in the Netherlands have much the same effect. They serve as sources of inspiration and pride, and enhance the Netherlands’ international reputation. The huge number of sporting events, both large and small, generate positive dynamic energy in society on an almost daily basis and act as a motor for economic and social activity. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers make it possible to organise events of this kind almost every week. This is something to be cherished. So we will continue our efforts to bring major sporting events to our country. What a wonderful thing it would be to be able to stage a great Olympic multisport event in the Netherlands at some point in the future.

With the Sports Agenda 2017+, sport is poised to make an even greater contribution to Dutch society than in the past. To achieve this will require certain adjustments to the sports infrastructure, to bring it into line with today’s conditions: changes relating to administration, organisation, and management. One aspect that will certainly need to receive attention concerns the questions of integrity that have come to the fore in both the national and international sports world.

Dutch men and women who participate in sport are first and foremost people living in the Netherlands in the early 21st century and encountering a range of social trends. These include decentralisation in the social sphere, the changing economy, the ageing population, and above all the growing importance of digital technology. All the signs suggest that the future will bring a increasing focus on the individual. Each individual person will decide what sport to pursue, when and where, and with whom.

Institutions such as the sports federations and the NOC*NSF will have less say in determining how sports should be organised and will instead have more of a facilitating role. At the same time, it is becoming clear that each individual’s need to connect with other people is as strong as ever. In fact, in these more fragmented times, people have even more of a need to belong to something and join in activities than before. People organise their lives in a variety of ways. And since sport exists in so many and such diverse forms, it is an ideal way of connecting and joining in. We are truly living in an age of opportunities!

The Dutch sports federations and NOC*NSF are keenly aware that in order to harness sport’s potential to influence society for the better, it is essential to adopt an open attitude, to be willing to adopt new organisational forms, earnings models, innovations, and partnerships. Cooperation is crucial not just to improve internal cohesiveness but also to forge better ties with public authorities, the education and health sectors, the business world, and all manner of civil society organisations and initiatives.

It is only through cooperation that the Netherlands can pursue the following key objectives:

  • organising major international sports events;
  • creating the right conditions for our leading athletes to excel on the world stage;
  • making everyday sport accessible to everyone.

Moreover, it is only through cooperation that local authorities can use sport as a way of encouraging the participation of vulnerable members of society; that schools can use sport to help pupils to keep fit and attain or maintain a healthy weight; and that businesses can harness the power of sport to enhance their own image at home and abroad.

In short, for the sports world to build good partnerships with other sectors, and vice versa, is vital to our chances of achieving our shared goals.

The Sports Agenda 2017+ maps out the direction that the organised sports sector intends to pursue together with its partners, the aim being to safeguard the positive social impact of sport for the coming decades, and thus to contribute a little to making the Netherlands – and the wider world – a better place.

André Bolhuis, president of NOC*NSF

Gerard Dielessen, director of NOC*NSF

>> For more information, please check the SportAgenda 2017 or download the pdf