Whether or not we are fully in the clear, it seems that Covid-19 is not going to be keeping us from a good sports summer. Events are playing out all over the Netherlands and that is also good news for the sports enthusiasts. Spectator and participant sports are on the rebound across the full spectrum of athletic pursuits and the coming months will see more of the same. Outside of the usual suspects such as the Libéma Open Tennis in Rosmalen and the Dutch Gran Prix in Zandvoort later this year, there are a number of lesser-know gems we thought worthy enough to be held up to the light.
European Company Sports Games 22-26 June
The European Company Sport Games are a European recreational sporting event in which employees compete against each other during a four day event. First held in Eindhoven under the patronage of Philips, the ECSG will be held this year in Arnhem. The event has since been organized every two years and has grown into an event with an average of 5,000 employees from more than 20 countries, 23 different sports – complete with opening and closing ceremonies. From Archery to Volleyball, most of the competition will be held on the campus of the Netherlands Sport Federation in Papendal. More information is to be found on the website: www.ecsgarnhem2022.com
NK.nl 24-26 June
Inspired by similar formats in Berlin and Glasgow, Rotterdam has pounced on the opportunity to host a number of Dutch national championships in the same weekend. By bundling the events together, the publicity for this multi-sport championship weekend is much greater than holding autonomous finals. Boxing, Gymnastics, Judo, Swimming and Triathlon will make up the program of the inaugural NK.nl in the harbor city. The intention is to make this concept an annual event. Tickets for the championships are available on the website. www.nk.nl
Honkbalweek Haarlem 8-15 July
This popular baseball tournament in Haarlem should really not be considered a hidden gem but just in case you haven’t heard of this summer ritual, generous mention is made once again here. This biennial event, held at the Pim Mulier stadium is equal measures of party, sports and pilgrimage. First played in 1961, this near casualty of the pandemic has survived to celebrate its 30 edition this year. Teams from Cuba, Curaçao, Italy, Japan and the United States will all descend upon Pim Mulier Stadion Center to face the hosts, “Team Kingdom of the Netherlands”
The fans who have embraced this event over the years, many using vacation time to be sure to catch as much of the action as possible, make this event a happening for the whole family. Every two years, they will pack the same cooler, don the same cap and sing the same silly songs to celebrate the sport of baseball in their own unique way. Whether you are seasoned fan or barely know your balls from strikes, take the family out and join the procession from the car park or train station to join the honkbal faithful for the holy week of Dutch summer sport. Tickets and more information are all available at www.honkbalweek.nl
World Police and Fire Games 22-31 July
Rotterdam will be awash with first responders and vital security officers when almost 10,000 people who work in police, fire, customs and corrections departments from all over the world will compete in more than 60 sports. Originally slated to be held in 2021, the Covid delayed games are, in terms of participants, one of the largest in the world. The first of these biennial World Police & Fire Games were held in 1985, hosted by San Jose, California, USA, with nearly 5,000 competitors. Rotterdam will host the nineteenth version of this competition. Tickets to watch a game as a spectator will be available on the website. www.wpfgrotterdam2022.com
Sneek Week 6-11 August
The Sneekweek is Europe’s largest inshore sailing regatta. The Royal Yacht Club Sneek (KWS) has organized this special event since 1934. It takes place in the north of the Netherlands, in the province of Friesland. While the sailing is serious as well as diverse, with competitions for Optimist, Solo, Laser, Vaurien, Yngling, Finn, 2.4mR, J22 and Splash classes amongst others, the Sneekweek is Fiesland at its summer best with many side events, music as well as food and drink. For those of you searching out the more esoteric sports competitions, The Open Frisian Sail-Hoisting Championship may be just what you are looking for! Go to www.sneekweek.nl for more information.
In short, it’s time to unearth the cooler, picnic hamper folding chairs and binoculars and get set for a summer of sporting entertainment in the Netherlands. Our two years of sports silence will yield way to the sounds of squeaking trainers, shrill whistles, airhorns and the boisterous call of “Play Ball”! Let the comeback begin.
Written by John Mahnen