6 outdoor sports to try this summer in the Netherlands

As the sport halls, hockey fields and gyms begin to reopen some of us may be wondering how we are to navigate the sports we love whilst maintaining the 1.5 metre social distancing rules and remaining hygienic and healthy.

Some of us may not be able to get back on the football fields, into rugby scrums or even finish off our dance season, but there are some sports you can still do with friends whilst remaining safe. Here are a few fun facts about the solo-ish sports that can get you out and about this summer.


Archery (boogschieten) is definitely not a sport that I ever saw myself trying, but then last year I gave it a go and loved it. There is a real art and discipline to it.

This is the sport I liken to boxing without actually hitting your opponent. Instead, you can imagine someone who annoyed you that day as the target.

This sport allows you to focus on the activity and you can unwind from a tough day. All the days issues fall away and the focus is on the bow, arrows and targets. In a year that has seen many cooped up inside, archery is a way to escape the computer screen and get outside and breathe. You either hit the target it or you miss it.

This sport is great for summer and although this year’s competitions are cancelled, walking through the fields and forests whilst shooting targets from many different distances really adds to the comradery of this lesser publicised sport.


Fancy being the next Tiger Woods or Rory McElroy? Why not take up golf this summer? You can still socialise whilst keeping that all important 1.5 metre distance.

The historic routes of golf have much been debated. Some say 15th Century Scotland, whilst others date it back to the ancient roman game of paganica. But we do know that is was banned by King James the second as he felt it a unwelcome distraction to boogscheiten.

If that all sounds a bit boring to you (I know it does me) there is always crazy golf. Now who doesn’t love a bit of crazy golf?

SUP boarding

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), traces back to thousands of years, across many continents, but its current form and popularity originated in Hawaii in the 1900’s.

It was originally thought that the Peruvians began SUP boarding as a way of getting around, fishing and visiting other tribes. But SUP boarding really took off when it was taken from Hawaii and made big in LA.

If you aren’t the biggest water baby, then this sport could well be for you. Unlike surfing, where you gotta get that body wet, in SUP boarding you can remain standing up and wetsuit-free. But you might not want to be fully clothed as, on occasion, you can fall in.

It is definitely one I’m set to try out this summer.

Racket sports

Tennis and badminton are great sports to try this summer. Both can be played indoors and outdoors and if the lovely weather continues, they’re really the perfect option. Played in singles and doubles this is the perfect sport to try now that you can meet up with a few friends.

I’ve spied a few clay tennis courts in my local sports halls in Hoorn, but if you wanted to try lawn tennis (like good old blighty), then you may have to travel a bit. There are two I found.

Larense Lawn Tennis Club near Hilversum and HLTC in Haarlem. Both offer the option to play on grass. But like with everything post lock down, you’ll likely need to book a court so many days in advance, so its advisable to check the websites or call ahead.


Parkour is an activity that can be practiced alone or with others and is usually carried out in urban spaces, though it can be done anywhere. (Although we do recommend finding a reputable club, don’t be crawling on your buurman’s rooftops!).

Using a mixture off running, crawling, climbing and vaulting this is a great sport for those who love high energy sports and want to try something without the restrictions of abseiling or rock climbing ropes. This is the ultimate in freestyle.

Horse Riding

Us Brits call horse racing “the sport of kings”, so I guess you could say horse riding is its distant cousin. There are an array of horsey related disciplines that you could try. From dressage, to jumping to eventing and polo.

If you are trying riding for the first time I would recommend going to a reputable yard and having some lessons. Build a rapport with your trusty steed and I’m sure you’ll be cantering through the autumn season in no time.

Have you tried any of the sports listed above?  What other solo sports should we try this summer? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Julian Schiemann/Unsplash

Aisha Brown
Aisha Brownhttp://www.aisharebecca.wordpress.com
Aisha is an aspiring poet and author from Luton, England. She became a “Lovepat”, following her (not even Dutch), partner to the Netherlands. She now calls the beautifully underrated town of Hoorn home. When she's not falling off her bicycle or hunting down trousers for her petite frame, you'll find her in a vegan haunt, drinking Earl Grey tea, or musing museums. This British-born wanderer hopes to call the Netherlands home.


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