Travelling to and fro between The Hague and Rotterdam to take part in sport: ISS students can’t see the logic in it. That’s why, for some 25 years, the predominantly international students have attended De Blinkerd sports centre in Scheveningen. The majority of the close-knit and small-scale ISS community comes here every Sunday evening to participate in sport.

The huge diversity of ethnic backgrounds in the dome-shaped sports centre is really striking. Students of all different types and sizes stand around the volleyball net, and it’s the same at the indoor football later in the evening. Badminton particularly seems to attract Asian students.


“Badminton is my favourite sport. I already played it when I did my bachelor degree in Indonesia”, said Nofalia Nurfitriani (25). The Development Studies’ master student has only been in the Netherlands since last September but has already made many new friends. The sports activities on Sunday play an important role in this. “You really get to know each other if you play sport together.”

It’s not an option for Nurfitriani to take part in sport at Erasmus Sport, even though she’d like to: “I’d like to go to Rotterdam and to Erasmus University to play sport, but it’s just too far to travel and I’m really too busy with my studies.” To compensate for this, she sometimes goes running near her ISS student house, as well as playing sport at the sports centre.



Sam Talman (24) also only arrived in the Netherlands a couple of months ago. The American, who is following a master degree in Public Policy, is really enthusiastic about the sport options offered to ISS students, even if it is only a few times a week. “I play sport here for four consecutive hours, so it’s quite intensive. I also box twice a week.”

Talman starts his sport session with a warm-up in the form of basketball and volleyball, after which it’s time for his high point of the evening: “I come here for the indoor football.” But he also thinks the good atmosphere is really important. “I’ve never had a boring discussion here and I’m learning so much about countries I knew hardly anything about. Everyone here gets on with everyone thanks to the universal language of sport”, he explained.

Sport Card


According to coordinator and supervisor Dieneke van der Waal, ISS students don’t view the relatively limited sports facilities as a problem. “Our students are often somewhat older. They generally think it’s enough to play sport once a week; they’re busy with other things.”

Counsellor Martin Blok acknowledges that it’s not an option for a small institute like ISS to have its own sports complex. “Financially, it’s just not feasible”, he stated. So students have to make do with the sports centre, which is a good fifteen-minute bicycle ride from the ISS and doesn’t have a canteen open on Sunday evening.

International sports day

If students want to play more sport, they can request a sport card at Erasmus Sport or from The Hague University of Applied Science. But, according to Blok, that hardly ever happens.

In any event, ISS students are really well-catered for in April as that’s when the institute organises the International Education Sports Day for all similar institutes in the Netherlands.