Sports innovation in the Netherlands

Successful by cooperation

Knowledge and innovation in sport are priorities on the Dutch sports agenda. In the past years, the national programme Sportinnovator created a network of highly qualitative innovation centres and helped to set up national and international cooperations and various innovation projects. The launch of the unique digital platform Sport Data Valley in 2020 enables coaches and researchers to analyse and safely administer research data on sports and physical activity.

In 2019, Sportinnovator launched a challenge for funding innovative projects for inclusion on playgrounds.
In 2019, Sportinnovator launched a challenge for funding innovative projects for inclusion on playgrounds.

The Netherlands are a sports loving nation: no other country in Europe counts relatively more sports club members than the Netherlands. A web of 26,000 sports clubs covers the country, as well as many pitches and play areas.
In elite sports, we want to hold a permanent position in the world’s top 10 major sporting events. Science and technology account for a major proportion of our exports. We strive to be one of the top 5 knowledge economies in the world. These ambitions provide a positive breeding ground to boost knowledge and innovation in the field of sports.


Sportinnovator is the Dutch national programme for sports innovation. It focusses on:

  • Increasing the economic and societal value of sports innovation
  • Increasing participation in sports/healthy lifestyles
  • Winning more medals at important elite sports events.

The programme is led by a team of prominent Dutch leaders in business, government, science, and sports and is supported by the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS). Sportinnovator contributes to the ambitions of national policy on sports and physical exercise by focusing on innovations within the Dutch National Sports Agreement.

We endorse the European Commission’s ambition to become ‘the healthiest region in the world’. Therefore, we aim at sustainable, long-term innovation cooperation between member states.

A wide range of highly qualitative innovation centres is supported to increase (inter)national cooperation, creating new opportunities for starting innovations and realizing a strong climate for innovation in sport.

Besides that, Sportinnovator stimulates innovation through providing funding, using various financial instruments. In this Sportfolio you will find examples of innovation centres and projects supported by Sportinnovator.

Successful by cooperation

Sportinnovator has developed a ‘quadruple helix’ model for innovation in sports. The innovation projects involve close collaboration between local authorities, businesses, scientists, and sports institutions. An example of this is research carried out in 2020. The study aimed to gain insight into how gyms and other indoor sports areas can remain open to athletes in a responsible way, thus diminishing the risk of Covid-19 contamination during sports in enclosed areas.

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Phone: +31 (0)70 349 54 24