Sport technology gives Holland a competitive edge

The Netherlands aims to be among the world's top ten sporting countries and a nation that is fit, with at least 75 percent of the population engaging in sufficient exercise. Focusing on those goals, the sport innovation institute InnoSportNL brings together sports, science and the corporate sector, with the aim of producing cutting-edge sport-related products and services.

InnoSportLabs

InnoSportNL operates in five testing and research centres in the Netherlands – the InnoSportLabs. Four InnoSportLabs serve elite-level sports in these four world-class facilities: 1. The Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium in Eindhoven; 2. the Thialf Ice Arena in Heerenveen; 3. the Flik-Flak Hall in Den Bosch (Europe’s biggest gymnastics training centre) and 4. sailing facilities in the Hague area (where the best Dutch sailors are concentrated). By contrast, one InnoSportLab focuses on recreational sports and its promotion among the wider public, doing so at the Sport & Fitness centre (Dutch: Sport & Beweging) in Eindhoven.

Visual feedback

In judging-based sports such as gymnastics, 'visual feedback' during training sessions is vital for learning and improving movements. To that end, the InnoSportLab in Den Bosch has created an advanced integrated camera system. Eleven touch screens operate twenty industrial cameras, which provide coaches and athletes with all the footage needed to carefully analyse gymnastic movements.

After cooling

'After cooling', also known as cold therapy, involves taking an extremely cold bath after heavy exertion. This strong cool-down promotes athletes’ physical recovery. To make this method safe and effective, InnoSportNL has developed guidelines and special cooling equipment. The method does not use ice, for that would create an instable temperature and logistical problems.

LED lighting

For football, field hockey and tennis clubs, dynamic LED lighting can cut evening energy bills by 20 to 70 percent. The new type of lighting is already being used on various football pitches in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, the home basis of the electronics giant Philips. Dynamic LED lighting not only reduces energy consumption, but also offers other advantages: no warm-up times for the lamps; individual dimmability of the lamps, so that unused parts of the pitch remain unlit; less scattered light disturbing the neighbourhood; plus the lamp’s service life is unaffected by frequent switching.

Running lights for iceskating

Running lights for iceskating

Image: Holst Centre

Laser data

A laser can give speed skaters priceless training information while riding a particular distance during a training session: am I properly pacing myself or going too fast? The ceiling of the ice arena comes equipped with six laser spots. A computer governs a green laser beam indicating the correct skating speed. The system allows for different speeds in different sections of the speed-skating oval. In the future, it will even indicate the ideal cornering line.

Sport for all

To encourage more Dutch people to take up exercise is the objective of a programme called Test Bed: NewSport Opportunities. It consist of 15 pilot projects – a sport club or cluster of sport clubs – which are testing out the best ways to get people moving and improve their physical fitness. One example is to introduce people to a sport they are unfamiliar with. A general principle is to be flexible in mixing and matching various activities and offering more accessible versions of existing sports.

Get to know the Dutch love of sports through this video

In 'Going dutch' Mark van Eeuwen shows orange is the color that makes Dutch people proud. The Netherlands turns orange during big sports events. Dutch expertise lies in football, field hockey and ice skating, amongst other sports.

In 'Going dutch' Mark van Eeuwen shows orange is the color that makes Dutch people proud. The Netherlands turns orange during big sports events. Dutch expertise lies in football, field hockey and ice skating, amongst other sports.

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