Belgium is one of the most sports-oriented countries in the world. As of the 2010 statistics, Belgium has 17,000 sports club with about 1.35 million members. This means that roughly 13% of Belgians is in one way or another involved in sports.
Modern Belgium though loves playing football, athletics, basketball, swimming, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, badminton, hockey, judo, and motor sports.
Belgium has also been a popular venue for a number of international sports events like the 1920 Olympic Games, 1972 UEFA European Championship and they also co-hosted the 2000 UEFA European Championship with the Netherlands. Belgium also has a very well decorated national football team having taken the 2nd place in the 1980 UEFA European Championship and 4th place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Other Belgian football clubs have taken the UEFA Cup Winners Cup three times, the UEFA Cup twice and finally the UEFA Supercup thrice. I guess it’s a safe bet to say that football is their most popular sport.
But Belgium also has performed quite well in the international stage, the Olympics to be specific. Other than hosting the 1920 Games, Belgium is in most Olympic Games since the 1900 and has won 142 medals in the Summer Olympic Games and 5 at the Winter Olympics (up until 2014). Some of their Olympic champions include Gaston Roelants and Tia Hellebaut (athletics), Hubert Van Innis and Edmond Cloetens (archery), Robert Van de Walle and Ulla Werbrouck (judo), Patrick Sercu and Roger Ilegems (track cycling), Frédérik Deburghgraeve (swimming) and Justine Henin (tennis). Truly, Belgian nation has quite a mindset for sports.
Traditionally, Belgians played crossage which is the ancient ancestor of golf. It is a team sport where the goal is to get the wooden ball through a series of goals with as little number of strokes as possible. What makes it interesting is the opposing team can knock your ball away from the goal thus making you spend more strokes.
Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Belgium.
Popular sports of Belgium (see more)
- Football (Soccer), golf, track and field, basketball, swimming, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, badminton, hockey, judo, motor sports.
Traditional or Regional Sports
- Krachtbal — a team sport from Flanders, where points are scored by throwing the ball using a neck or back throw into the opponent’s goal area.
- Crossage — a team sport where the goal is to get the wooden ball through a series of goals with as little number of strokes as possible
Belgium Sporting Success
- 1980 - 2nd place in the 1980 UEFA European Championship
- 1986 - 4th place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup
- 2018 - winner of Men's Hockey World Cup
Great athletes from Belgium
- Justine Henin (tennis)
Belgium Sports trivia
Belgium at major events
Past sporting events hosted in Belgium
- 1920 Olympic Games summer hosts in Antwerp
- 1972 UEFA European (Euro) Football Championship
- 2000 UEFA European (Euro) Football Championship (co-hosted with the Netherlands)
- 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Flanders
Upcoming sporting events in Belgium
- 2023 Gymnastics (Artistic) World Championships in Antwerp
- 2026 Hockey World Cup in Wavre (co-hosted with Amstelveen, The Netherlands)
Annual sporting events held in Belgium
Sporting Facilities in Belgium
- Antwerp Olympic Stadium (Olympisch Stadion)
- King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels
Is there something missing? If you know of something that should be listed here, please let me know.