In primary and secondary schools, physical education lessons (gymles) are provided to promote physical exercise. Children participate in different kinds of sports such as basketball, football, gymnastics or swimming at least once a week. They are expected to bring their own sportswear.

Extracurricular sports are not automatically part of the school system. The greater part of organised sport in the Netherlands takes place at the sports clubs at the local level. Most Dutch sports clubs are run by volunteers. Equally important, a sports club is a democratic organisation run by the members themselves. Most sports clubs are members of national sport federations.

From a young age, children join sports clubs as Dutch schools do not really cater for organised sport. Parents should bear in mind that enrolling children at such clubs is not cheap but it will give you and your children access to a wide range of local social networks and contacts.

Of course, with this social access you get the club duties too. Members are tacitly expected to help out with barwork, catering, cleaning or training, for example. Besides the sport, there are usually social events and to run all this activity, there is an almost trade union-like hierarchy, with no shortage of committees and office-bearers who manage the club and take care of official matters.