60% of Almere’s population participates in a sporting activity at least twelve times a year. With 195,000 inhabitants, the city has over 300 indoor and outdoor sports facilities and over a hundred sports clubs. In addition, more and more of Almere’s residents are participating in non-organised sporting activities.
Almere’s parks, water bodies and its extensive network of cycling and walking trails offer numerous possibilities for outdoor sports, such as off-road biking, inline skating, hiking and rowing.
Leisure and social participation
Sports play a prominent role in the city’s daily life. Not only are sports the leading leisure activity, they also fulfil a valuable social function. Sports bridge differences between people and get them involved in a common objective. They make a significant contribution to encouraging an awareness of intrinsic sporting values such as cooperation and sportsmanship and they have a positive effect on health. Almere’s sports policy is mainly focused on:
- encouraging participation in sporting activities;
- boosting a solid sports infrastructure;
- improving the quality and accessibility of the kinds of sports being made available to the public.
Education is a crucial factor within this context. Schools lay the foundation for
future behaviour, they provide outstanding infrastructures for practicing sports and benefit from having healthy pupils.
Facilitating athletic achievement obviously requires modern, high-quality sports facilities that are geared to today’s demands. Almere has a number of facilities that meet the highest international standards. These include sports hall ‘De Toekomstgroep’ (badminton), sports park ‘Fanny Blankers-Koen’ (baseball and softball), the Almeerderhout golf course, the Almere City FC football stadium and ‘Topsportcentrum Almere’ in Almere Poort. They serve as national training centres and host a range of regional, national and international sporting
events. A large-scale outdoor event that takes place in Almere every year is the Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.
International Youth Games
Internationally, Almere cooperates with Aalborg (Denmark), Rendsburg (Germany), and Lancaster (UK) to organise the annual Youth Games. Every summer, secondary students gather in one of the organising cities to participate in a two-week tournament. Almere hosts the Youth Games once every four years. The vast majority of the city’s sports clubs is involved in organising the event. The Youth Games are part of an exchange programme between the cities mentioned and Milton Keynes (UK), Växjö (Sweden) and Haapsalu (Estonia). The programme focuses on sports, education, arts and culture.