Millions of Dutch people flock to sports fields and courts, gyms and swimming pools every week. This popularity makes perfect sense. Sports bring people together. They ensure that people remain healthy, and above all that they have fun. Occasionally things go wrong, with outbursts of verbal abuse, pushing and shoving, or in some cases to serious violence. Sport is supposed to be a source of enjoyment. So the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport (VWS) encouraged the Dutch sports federations and NOC*NSF to conduct a joint campaign ‘Towards a safer climate for sport’.
The action plan ‘Towards a safer climate for sport’ was launched in 2011 and was due to wind down at the end of 2016. Under the leadership of NOC*NSF and the Dutch national soccer and hockey associations (KNVB and KNHB), and with the active support of a large number of sports federations and other organisations, the organised sports sector has made a concerted effort to improve the social climate on and around the sports fields. Club executive committees, as well as trainers/coaches, referees, and parents of child participants, have been given targeted support through this action plan, including special training sessions, the aim being to work together on producing a more harmonious climate in sport. The action plan is bearing fruit, and the Ministry of VWS has therefore decided to extend it for a further two years until 2018.