Study Sports in Netherlands

The Dutch truly enjoy sports. About two thirds of the population over 15 play sports weekly. The humid weather and moderate temperatures in The Netherlands also makes it an ideal destination for active holidays. Tourists love going there for watersports, cycling and hiking. What could be a better place to study Sports?

You can find English-taught Bachelor’s degrees in Sports Studies at four different Dutch universities of applied sciences: The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam University of Sciences and Wittenborg University of Sciences. It is currently not possible to study this subject in English at undergraduate level at research universities. In contrast, Master’s degrees in Sports are only available at research universities, in particular the University of Groningen and VU University Amsterdam.

1. Will my Sports degree from a Dutch university be recognised?

All Sports degrees in The Netherlands are accredited by NVAO. Therefore, their quality is considered to be as good as their equivalents in the UK.

One important issue that you should bear in mind is the Sports programmes at Dutch universities primarily focus on the organisational side of sports. As a result, they might not be sufficient to qualify you to teach or work at recreation centres. If you plan to follow these career paths, we recommend that you research and obtain field-specific credentials.

2. Does it make sense to study Sports in the Netherlands?

Yes, absolutely. You will not only enjoy an English curriculum, but also have access to excellent sport facilities on campus.

Moreover, attending universities of applied sciences, you will benefit from their strong industrial links. For example, The Hague University of Applied Sciences offers students the unique opportunity to complete an internship with the Union of European Football Associations, Federation Internationale de Volleyball or the International Tennis Federation.  

3. Where can I study Sports in English in the Netherlands?

As of January 2019, there are four options available for undergraduate students.

  1. BA in International Sport Management, The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  2. BA in Sport Studies, Hanze University of Applied Sciences
  3. Bachelor in International Sports, Management and Business, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  4. BBA in Sports Business Management, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences

Delivered by universities of applied sciences, all four programmes feature case studies, practical assignments and internships, meaning you will get a lot of hand-on experience during your degree. This teaching style ensures that you are well prepared for the competitive sports industry upon graduation. Moreover, the four programmes highlight an interdisciplinary approach. Your courses will span across a variety of different fields, including finance, marketing, ethics, sociology, law, media and politics. This is an excellent setting for you to learn to research, plan, organise, lead and evaluate the business of sports.

Despite these similarities, the curricular of the four programmes are vastly different.

The International Sport Management programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences is the latest Sports degree to be launched in The Netherlands, and started in September 2017. In this three-year programme, you must complete an internship during both your second and third year. Thinking studying abroad shows your future employers enough evidence of your courage to break outside your comfort zone? The Hague University of Applied Science certainly thinks it’s not enough! This is why they require that one of your internships must be away from your home country. Alongside with interesting work experience, you will also gain an advantage from the modern facilities at the Sports campus Zuiderpark and receive extensive support from a personal tutor during your degree.

While the degree programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences focuses on breadth of knowledge, Hanze University of Applied Sciences have developed a curriculum that allows depth in your studies. Throughout your three years at university, you will focus on exploring three topics: (i) health enhancing physical activities, (ii) changing behaviour and (iii) policy and entrepreneurship. The rationale behind these main themes is to equip you with the skills needed to “put health in the agenda of individuals, organisations and society”. Such course’s objective, as well as its emphasis on developing interpersonal skills and project management, makes this degree an ideal choice for those who are interested in a career in consulting and coaching.

The Sports Business Management programme at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences offers the greatest flexibility with six different entry dates per year. The highlight of this degree is its clear three-year curriculum structure. In your first year, you will study sports at the macro level, taking courses in sports policy, finance and economics. The second year starts with courses that help you understand the role of management for successful sports organisations and develop project management skills accordingly. You will then do an internship where you can apply the knowledge and skills that you have obtained earlier. The programme concludes with an overview of marketing strategy and a research project.

Unlike the other programmes, the International Sports, Management and Business degree at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences takes four years to complete.

The choices for postgraduate sports students are much more limited, with only two programmes available: MSc in Sports Sciences at the University of Groningen and Human Movement Sciences/Sports, Exercises and Health (taught and research tracks) at VU University of Amsterdam.

4. Where are the best places to study Sports in the Netherlands?

When it comes to making your university choices, there’s a lot of pressure to choose prestige, i.e. rankings, above all else. However, with sports, prestige often doesn’t always translate into student success, either within the classroom or after graduation. Don’t let a ranking make your decision for you. We recommend keeping all your options open and visiting a few universities before making the final decision.

5. What grades do I need to get in?

You must have at least 3 A levels. However, grades are not the most important factor in the admission process for sports degree programmes. It’s very likely that you will be invited to attend an assessment day on campus where you have to go through physical examination. Unfortunately, a BTEC Level 3 Extended qualification in sport might not be accepted as it is only usually sufficient for 4-year degrees. Dutch-taught programmes in sport usually take four years to complete.

For Master’s degrees, you will need to have a 2.1 or better from an equivalent university in the UK. Your Bachelor’s degree would ideally be in Sports or a very closely related discipline.

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About Study In Holland is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services. is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.