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Frisian Handball (Kaatsen)

Frisian handball, which is called keatsen in Frisian and kaatsen in Dutch, is a traditional sport in Friesland. It is similar to American handball and fives which is usually played by people from the Dutch province of Friesland.

This sport is usually played on a rectangular lawn which has a size of 61 meters by 32 meters. The sport is played by two teams with 3 players each. In the center of one side of the field, there’s a receiving zone, this receiving zone is defended by 2 players. One team member is the only remaining field player.

olympic kaatsen demonstration Kaatsen Demonstration
from: The Official Report of the Olympic Games 1928

The players serve the ball from a serving box, which is about 30 meters from the receiving zone. If the player is not successful, the opposing or receiving team scores. If the receiving team is able to return the ball, then they also get a score. After this rally, the ball remains in a place called kaats which is marked with a small woodblock.

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