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A landscape of sport facilities in the Netherlands (INTERN).

Hoekman, R., Breedveld, K., Kraaykamp, G.
International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 8(2), 305-320, doi: 10.1080/19406940.2015.1099556

This article explores the geographical distribution of sport facilities in the Netherlands and evaluates the supply and proximity of such facilities in relation to area level deprivation and urbanity. In today’s context of financial austerity, many municipalities must critically assess their spending on sport provision. Most government funding to sports goes to construction and maintenance of sport facilities, so there is an increasing need for information and indicators by which to gauge the adequacy of such facilities. The current study draws on sports place theory and the deprivation amplification model to examine the presence, variety and proximity of sport facilities in the Netherlands as a whole and according to area level deprivation and urbanity. Data were provided by the Sport Facility Monitor, a national dataset offering geographical information on (nearly) all sport facilities in the Netherlands. These data were linked with population statistics from Statistics Netherlands to allow spatial analyses. Our results indicate that by assessing the distribution of sport facilities in a structured way, relevant information can be obtained for sport facility planning and sport participation policy. Furthermore, our results show that certain standard sport facilities are fairly evenly distributed throughout the Netherlands, irrespective of the local population size. For more specialised facilities, however, higher population thresholds appear to be required. We conclude that, even though there are inequalities in the distribution of sport facilities, the Netherlands overall provides a sufficiently dense sport infrastructure with various types of facilities offered in close proximity to most inhabitants.