Approximately 4.5 million of the 16.8 million people in the Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly. Football is the most popular participant sport in the Netherlands, before field hockey and volleyball as the second and third most popular team sports. Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports.
Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established (such as the speed skating federation in 1882), rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence. A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in 1912. Thus far, the nation has won 266 medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 110 medals at the Winter Olympic Games. In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands women’s field hockey team is the most successful team in World Cup history. The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events. Dutch K-1 kickboxers have won the K-1 World Grand Prix 15 times out of 19 tournaments.
The Dutch speed skaters’ performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where they won 8 out of 12 events, 23 out of 36 medals, including 4 clean sweeps, is the most dominant performance in a single sport in Olympic history. Motorcycle racing at the TT Circuit Assen has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. The circuit was purpose-built for the Dutch TT in 1954, with previous events having been held on public roads.
The Dutch have also had success in all three of cyclings Grand Tours with Jan Janssen winning the 1968 Tour de France, more recently with Tom Dumoulin winning the 2017 Giro d’Italia and legendary rider Joop Zoetemelk was the 1985 UCI World Champion, the winner of the 1979 Vuelta a Espana, the 1980 Tour de France and still holds or shares numerous Tour de France records including most Tours finished and most kilometers ridden.
Limburger Max Verstappen currently races in Formula One, and was the first Dutchman to win a Grand Prix. The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from 1958 to 1985, and has been announced to return in 2020. The volleyball national men’s team has also been successful, winning the silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and the gold medal four years later in Atlanta. The biggest success of the women’s national team was winning the European Championship in 1995 and the World Grand Prix in 2007.
Main article: Dutch cuisine
Stroopwafels (syrup waffles) are a treat consisting of waffles with caramel-like syrup filling in the middle.
Oliebollen, a Dutch pastry eaten on New Year’s Eve.
Poffertjes are made in a special, so-called, poffertjespan.