Perspectives on physical literacy in continental Europe

Jeroen Koekoek, Niek Pot, Wytse Walinga, Ivo van Hilvoorde

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In this chapter, we discuss how the concept of physical literacy has been developed throughout continental Europe. Specifically, this chapter provides an overview of countries (Malta, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and the Netherlands) in which physical literacy has been more or less integrated. It shows that the philosophical and pedagogical foundation of physical literacy is strongly integrated within continental European thinking about education, physical education and sports. The chapter starts by describing the roots of physical literacy. Subsequently, we will expand the discussion about the inherent tension between the ideological orientation and the factual situation in many European countries in which medical, biological and military orientations on physical activity have dominated. It is argued that physical literacy provides a shared and integral framework for thinking about the cultural significance of movement behaviour, as opposed to the more instrumental and health-oriented perspectives on human movement. We discuss the use of physical literacy by providing examples within the sports and physical education context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Literacy across the World
EditorsMargaret Whitehead
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780203702697
ISBN (Print)9781138571549 , 9781138571556
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutlede studies in physical education and youth sports


  • Education
  • Sports and Leisure
  • Nursing & Allied Health
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Health and Social Care


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