The NOC of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF) strives to see all Dutch people enjoying sports; by being physically active and also by watching great sporting events on TV an at a sports venue. Promoting sports and physical activity is one of the main objectives of the Dutch NOC. Specific projects and campaigns are run yearlong to promote physical activities among Dutch people. At the end of 2016 this should lead to an increase of the weekly sports participation of all Dutch citizens from 50% to 60%.
The sport clubs are the starting point and the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and a high sports participation in the Netherlands. Clubs are the places where people meet, practice sports and encourage each other to stay physically active. These clubs have an important impact on sports participation in the Netherlands. However, most of the clubs are for members only and if these clubs would be open and easily accessible for non-members, too, sports participation could be increased significantly in the Netherlands. This vision has been the catalyst for the NOC Open Club programme.
An Open Club is accessible for official members, regular visitors and local residents. At the Open Club everybody is given the opportunity to practice sports and to be involved in social club activities. The Open Club collaborates with neighbouring organizations to develop and provide sports activities for different target groups. The Open Club can be a single club, however, often the Open Club is a cooperation between several clubs, social institutions, community centres and/or commercial enterprises.
The main purpose of the Open Club is not to gain more members but to increase sports participation. Sometimes, therefore, new activities have to be developed and new target groups should be approached. Activities are not only focused on sports and physical activities. Club management, referee tasks, training, and coaching are even important activities and are accessible to members and non-members. All of this leads to a strong neighbourhood community with the Open Club at its core.
The information and results of the Open Club programme could probably be useful for other European countries with a comparable club structure as in the Netherlands. The Dutch NOC, therefore, will share gained knowledge, expertise, and documents with other NOC’s on request.