The Mulier Institute

About us

The Mulier Institute was founded in 2002 and is the only independent, non-profit, scientific sport-research institute in the Netherlands. As such, it is engaged in fundamental, practice-focused and policy relevant social-scientific sport research. It monitors the developments within the Dutch sports sector. It builds its own databases and trend series to this end, in close cooperation with academic and professional universities both in the Netherlands and abroad as well as with other research organisations and statistical administrative bodies, such as CBS Statistics Netherlands and Eurostat.

The institute aspires to enhance the quality of sport research and sport policy in the Netherlands. It therefore advocates the appointment of sports professors, and organises conferences and symposiums, such as the annual Sport Research Day (DSO). The Mulier Institute is a prominent member of many national and international research communities, including Measure, EASS and ISSA.

The Mulier Institute has an annual budget of 6 million euros. Part of this budget is funded by an institutional grant from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The other financial means stem from contract research for third parties (municipalities, ministries, sport unions and umbrella organisations) as well as subsidies for scientific research.

The institute has the legal form of a foundation. It is a non-profit organisation. Its daily management is run Dr Remco Hoekman, together with a magagement team. The Mulier Institute employs 70+ staff members, mostly researchers with a background in social sciences. The institute’s offices are located in the Galgenwaard stadium of professional football club FC Utrecht.

The institute is named after W.J.H. (Pim) Mulier (1865-1954), the pioneer and patriarch of (organised) sports in the Netherlands. Pim Mulier stood at the basis of the Dutch Football Association and Athletics Union, was involved in the founding of the ISU International Skating Union and helped internationally renowned sport events, such as the Four Day Marches Nijmegen and the Eleven Cities Skating Tours, take their form and shape.

For more information on the institute’s work and activities, please contact Remco Hoekman.


Gender diversity in European sport governance

The book Gender diversity in European sport governance presents a comprehensive and comparative study of how various regions and countries of Europe have addressed this lack of gender diversity, discussing which strategies have brought about change and to what extent these changes have been successful. With contributions from leading sport sociologists, covering countries such as Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK, it provides a foundation for future policymaking, methodological analyses and theoretical developments that can result in sustainable gender equality in European sport governance.


Sport policy, sport facilities and sport participation

Local sport policy is influenced by the broader environment and exogenous developments. Despite the omnipresent instrumental focus on sport, local sport policy activities are still centred on facilitating sport and enhancing sport participation. Local sport policy characteristics provide some explanation for differences in sport participation, yet the social environment and socio-economic variables are found to be most important. Considering that the Netherlands is a relatively strong test case, given the abundant sport infrastructure and relatively high sport participation rates, it is anticipated that in other countries sport policy characteristics may be even more significant in explaining differences in sport participation.


Sports for Women in Urban Places (SW-UP)

The project Sports for Women in Urban Places (SW-UP) aims at gathering evidence on why and how to better create and direct women friendly outdoor Sport and Recreational Physical Activities (SRPA) spaces in urban environments. SW-UP is a cooperation between several European partners, coordinated by ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy. Conducting a survey amongst the adult population in the participating cities is one of the activities in the project; this activity was coordinated by the Mulier Institute.


Health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) promotion programs

Health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) promotion programs are implemented in sports clubs. The purpose of this study is to examine the characteristics of the insufficiently active participants that benefit from these programs.

The results suggest that HEPA sporting programs can be used to increase HEPA levels of insufficiently active people, but it seems a challenge to reach the least active ones. It is important that promotional strategies and channels are tailored to the target group. Furthermore, strategies that promote family support may enhance the impact of the programs.


Physical activity in the school setting

Recent studies indicate that a single bout of physical exercise can have immediate positive effects on cognitive performance of children and adolescents. However, the type of exercise that affects cognitive performance the most in young adolescents is not fully understood. Therefore, this controlled study examined the acute effects of three types of 12-min classroom-based exercise sessions on information processing speed and selective attention.

The results revealed that exercising at low to moderate intensity does not have an effect on the cognitive parameters tested in young adolescents. Furthermore, there were no differential effects of exercise type.

The results of this study are discussed in terms of the caution which should be taken when conducting exercise sessions in a classroom setting aimed at improving cognitive performance.


‘Physical activity, that’s a tricky subject’

Based on a growing body of epidemiological and biomedical studies, physical activity (PA) is considered a cornerstone in type 2 diabetes treatment. However, it is also a practice embedded in daily life and, as such, may produce certain frictions as a topic in health care. The aim of this article is to give in-depth insight into experiences of health care professionals with the delivery of PA counselling to people with type 2 diabetes. Health care professionals providing PA counselling to people with type 2 diabetes have to navigate between possibilities within the diabetes care framework, options for an embedding of PA in the patient’s lifeworld, and the professionals’ opinions on and experiences with PA and healthy living from their own lifeworld. This makes PA a complex topic of care.


WEURO 2017 as catalyst? The narratives of two female pioneers in the Dutch women’s football media complex

2017 was a significant year for women’s football in the Netherlands. The Dutch women’s team won the Women’s European Champions football (WEURO 2017) for the first time in history. The screenings of their matches attracted massive audiences. This article explores the meanings given to gender and sport and the impact of WEURO 2017 by turning to two women pioneers in the field of elite women’s football and the sports media complex. We not only study how these women negotiate and experience the impact and meanings given to WEURO 2017 but we also explore how their narratives provide insights in the wider meanings given to (the development of) women’s football in the Netherlands. Results show, amongst other things, how an increased popularity and attention for women’s football from the part of the media goes together with a reproduction of hegemonic discourses that prioritize emphasized femininity and construct men’s football as normative.