Numerous strange sports in the Netherlands will raise your eyebrows and make you wonder about Dutch sanity.
We all know that Dutch people are crazy about football, hockey, and ice skating. However, many other countries enjoy these activities as well. If you are brave enough to venture out into the Dutch provinces, you will encounter a slew of strange sports peculiar to the Netherlands.
Prepare to be amazed as we list the ten strangest sports in the Netherlands.
‘Paalzitten’ is a sitting sport – Weird Sports in the Netherlands
Do you enjoy sitting? The Dutch, on the other hand, have a sport for that! Dutchies compete in this sport by sitting on a pole for as long as they can (sometimes up to 90 hours!).
The poles have a board to sit on, and short potty breaks are permitted, but this can’t be a spectator sport.
Canal jumping in the Netherlands is known as ‘Fierljeppen.’
With the amount of canals in the Netherlands, it was only a matter of time until they became a sport. Fierljeppen is a classic Dutch sport that originated in Friesland in the country’s north.
The canal contains a pole ranging from eight to thirteen meters in fierljeppen (Frisian meaning far jumping). The approach is to run towards the pole, jump onto it, and climb it as high and as quickly as possible while attempting to control the fall’s direction. They then land on a sand bed on the other side of the canal. That’s incredible!
‘Korfbal’ is a Dutch sport that combines basketball, netball, and handball.
Korfbal pits two teams against each other, with four women and four men. The game’s goal is to get what appears to be a football into a hoop that rests atop a 3.5-metre pole. This fast-paced game is played with the same energy and passion as NBA basketball.
Even though the Dutch originated korfbal, over 70 countries from across the world compete in this sport at the World Games.
‘Sjoelen’ is Dutch for shuffleboard – Weird Sports in the Netherlands
Sjoelen is a popular game that resembles shuffleboard. In fact, many Dutch families have a sjoeltafel stashed someplace in the attic. The goal is to score points by sliding 30 wooden pucks down the longboard and through little wooden arches.
The game is surprisingly competitive, with players vying for the highest score out of a possible 148 points.
‘Kaatsen’: racketless tennis? Weird Sports in the Netherlands
Kaatsen, or Frisian handball, is considered one of the world’s oldest ball games. As the name implies, participants hit a ball with their hands across a field to each other.
The scoring system is identical to tennis, with the first team to win six games winning the match. Hitting such a small ball across a whole field with just your hand is an incredible feat to witness in action.
‘Beugelen’ consists of a stone ball and a wooden bat.
Beugelen was popular among Holland’s higher classes in the 1400s, but it has since become a popular sport throughout the Netherlands.
Participants in this activity push a heavy ball with a wooden shovel to get it through the ring in the center of the floor. Finally, it’s like a hybrid between croquet and boules.
‘Skûtsjesilen’ is a manure boat race.
Skûtsjesilen is a sailing competition in which participants race historic flat-bottom boats known as skûtsjes.
Originally used to deliver peat and dung to farms across shallow seas, the boats’ maneuverability makes them ideal for a fun race. Many competitors are direct descendants of historic Frisian skipper families.
The championship is held every summer in Friesland and is a serious issue of honor for the participating villages and municipalities.
‘Klootschieten’ means ‘throw it as far as you can!’
The game of klootschieten symbolizes humanity’s preoccupation with throwing balls. Throwing the kloot as far as possible requires participants to use speed, power, and technique – the world record is 106.2 metres!
A kloot is a lead-filled hardwood or plastic ball that weights between 200 and 800 grams. The team that can toss the kloot across the five-kilometer rural course in the fewest throws wins.
The game is claimed to have evolved from a weapon used by the Frisian people to attack their foes. Yikes!
Skating on the canals in ‘Elfstedentocht’
This is more of a strange occasion than a peculiar sport in and of itself. Elfstedentocht is a long-distance skate trip through Frisian cities’ ice canals, rivers, and lakes.
The path varies year to year depending on where there are condensed spots of frozen water, but it is normally roughly 200 kilometers long.
Unfortunately, because to a lack of ice, this beautiful spectacle hasn’t occurred in years.
The ultimate skating marathon, ‘Marathonschaatsen’
Since Elfstedentocht has become increasingly rare since the 1970s, the Dutch have instead organized the annual indoor marathonschaatsen (marathon skating).
Competitors race around Biddinghuizen’s three-kilometer-long ice rink for 125 circuits in the men’s division and 80 laps in the women’s division.
This sport is much more than a bunch of Dutchies skating in circles regarding strategics and team tactics!