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Spotlight on...Hockey in the Netherlands!

Article posted on: March 20, 2020

The Netherlands is one of the most popular destinations for school hockey tours. Journey times are short, English is widely spoken and, most importantly, hockey is huge here. Let's take a look at why this could be the perfect choice for your next school sports tour. 

How big is hockey in the Netherlands?

Hockey is huge in the Netherlands and beaten only by football in terms of popularity. It is viewed as a sport that can be played by anyone, from young children to their grandparents. 

There are over 300 hockey clubs in the Netherlands, and it’s believed over 250,000 Dutch people play club hockey – about one in every 67 residents! 

What about the national team?

Both the men’s and women’s national teams have been hugely successful. 

The men’s national team has won the Olympics twice and the Hockey World Cup three times. They’ve also won the Champions Trophy eight times, the EuroHockey Nations Championship five times and the Hockey World League once. 

If anything, the women’s team have been even more successful. They’re currently ranked number one in the FIH World Rankings and are current World Champions. They’re the most successful team in World Cup history, having won an incredible eight times. They’ve also won eight Olympic medals, including three golds.

And domestic hockey in the Netherlands?

The competitiveness of the Dutch hockey leagues attracts top athletes from all over the world. Many of the sports top names have spent time playing in the Netherlands at club level, including Team GB Olympic gold medallists Maddie Hinch, Helen Richardson-Walsh, Kate Richardson-Walsh and Alex Danson.

The country’s primary hockey league is the Hoofdklasse, which is contested by 12 clubs in both a men’s and women’s league. 

All teams play the others twice during the season, with the four top teams reaching the playoffs at the end of the season.

The league below the Hoofdklasse is the Promotieklasse. At the end of the season, the top team in the Promotieklasse is promoted to the Hoofdklasse, replacing the team in that league that placed 12th at the end of the season. 

The 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the Promotieklasse also have the chance to be promoted, as they play relegation matches against the 10th and 11th placed teams in the Hoofdklasse

Can we visit the Netherlands on a school hockey tour?

Yes, in fact, it’s hard to beat the Netherlands as a school hockey tour destination! 

There’s a real passion for the sport here, which will encourage the same in your students. And, of course, the quality of the opposition is good too, giving you a chance to challenge your team and give them some great experience of different tactics and styles of play.

Plus, of course, the Netherlands are just a short journey from the UK, and it’s a compact country too, so even if you do choose to visit more than one destination, you won’t spend too much of your trip travelling.  

The other great bonus is that the Dutch tend to speak fantastic English, which just makes it that bit easier for you as Group Leader (assuming, of course, that you don’t already speak Dutch!). 

You can be fairly sure that you’ll be able to communicate directly with many people you come across, which means you don’t have to worry too much about miscommunications. 

Having said that, it always goes down well if you can say a handful of key phrases (please, thank you etc.) in the local language – and that goes for the Netherlands too!

Most of our groups choose to visit Amsterdam and/or Rotterdam to enjoy professional coaching and team training sessions, before putting their skills to the test against local opposition. 

We also offer the opportunity for your team to enter an international youth tournament in the Hague - a real festival of hockey, this is an experience your team will never forget!

Interested in visiting the Netherlands on your next school hockey tour?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information, or to request a tailor-made quote. 

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