English (about us)

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.

Recent international publications include:

The Mulier Institute has an annual budget of 2,5 million euros. A third 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 organisation) 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 by Dr Hugo van der Poel. The Mulier Institute employs 30+ staff members, mostly researchers with a background in social sciences. The institute’s offices are located in the Galgenwaard stadium of the premier league 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 Hugo van der Poel.

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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.

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Providing for the rich?

The relevance of local sport policy to achieve ‘sport for all’ has been widely recognized. Public spending on sport is seen necessary to keep sport affordable, while specific policy programs are aimed to include groups that lag behind in sport participation. This paper explores the impact of local government’s sport expenditures on sport (club) participation and more particularly its impact on sport (club) participation differences between higher and lower socio-economic positions, in the Netherlands. Overall, our results imply that in the Netherlands municipal sport policy does matter, although primarily for youth, in addition to the social environment and socio-economic position of individuals. With these results our study contributes to an evidence-base for sport policy and to the current body of knowledge on explaining differences in sport participation.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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Sport clubs in Europe

More than 60 million people in Europe participate in sport clubs, which clearly shows that sport clubs play an important role in European society. Notwithstanding trends of individualisation and consumerism, sport clubs are gaining an increasingly central role in sports policy. This is the most important message in the book ‘Sport Clubs in Europe: A Cross-National Comparative Perspective’, edited by the Mulier Institute, the University of Bern and German Sport University Cologne. The first edition of the book was presented in Brussels, at the ENGSO Forum ‘The Role of Sport Clubs in Changing Society in Future’.