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 a part of the school system. The better part of organised sport in the Netherlands is formed by the sport clubs at local level. Most Dutch sport clubs are run on volunteerism. Equally important, a sport club is a democratic organisation run by the members themselves. Most sport 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.