Creating or awakening national pride through sporting success? A longitudinal study on macro effects in the Netherlands

A. Elling, I.M. van Hilvoorde, R. van den Dool

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Like many other countries, the Dutch government increased investments in elite sports in the last decennium, partly driven by the ambition to organise the Olympic Games in 2028 in the Netherlands. One of the most important legitimations for this ambition is that elite sports events and national achievements should foster national pride, social cohesion and international prestige.In this article we present and discuss the results of a study on the relationship between Dutch international sport achievements and the development of national pride. The outcome is based on 27 longitudinal measurements among the adult Dutch population in the years 2008-2010 in which European and world Championships men's soccer and a summer and winter Olympic Games took place.The results support the common belief that international sporting success of Dutch athletes contributes to the testimony and expression of national pride and belonging. However, the extent to which national pride can be increased by national sporting success seems to be rather limited. The data show that national performances in international sport events may lead to small, short-term eruptions in feelings of national sporting pride and well-being, especially among athletes, men and non-immigrants. However, the results indicate that national pride is a rather stable characteristic of national identification that cannot easily be increased by improving national sporting success and winning more Olympic medals. © The Author(s) 2012.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
    Early online date22 Aug 2012
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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