Points of departure for the development of Paralympic sports

The continued development of Paralympic sports calls for structural attention for disability sports from sports organisations and local authorities. Other prerequisites are high-quality physical exercise lessons for all children, and measures to ensure the social and physical accessibility of sports for people with a disability. In addition, the classification of Paralympic athletes could be placed on a more professional footing. And if the Netherlands is to serve as a model country, it should take a more active role in international sports organisations.

These are some of the outcomes of four meetings on Paralympic sports, organised by the Netherlands Sports Council (NLsportraad) to gather input for the consultative process concerning an advice called ‘Continued Development of Paralympic Sports’ (Doorontwikkeling paralympische sport). In this context, the Netherlands Sports Council held meetings with international experts, Dutch stakeholders, scientists, Paralympic athletes and their coaches.

At the request of the Netherlands Sports Council, during each meeting the participants performed a SWOT analysis of the current state of affairs in Paralympic sports. They reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of Paralympic sports, both in a Dutch and international context. Next, the participants discussed the opportunities and threats they identified in the continued development of Paralympic sports.

In addition, participants selected their own priorities for the continued development of Paralympic sports, and then discussed them during the meeting. This resulted in highly valuable debates about national and international developments. Key themes discussed during the meetings:

  • organisational integration, the climate for elite sports, and integrity;
  • attracting and developing talent;
  • classification;
  • public image and visibility;
  • knowledge sharing and innovation;
  • the Netherlands abroad.

According to the participants, the added value of the meetings was significant. Among other things, they appreciated the diversity of the guests and the opportunities to reflect collectively on the continued development of Paralympic sports. To read the summary report of the meetings, click here.


The Netherlands Sports Council will use the information gathered during the meetings as input for a definitive analysis of the current state of affairs in Paralympic sports. After that, the Council will consider recommendations and draft an advisory document for the Minister for Medical Affairs and Sport. The advisory document is scheduled to be presented in late February 2022, in the period between the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

If you have any questions about the consultative process or have any information that you think might be of interest to the Council, please do not hesitate to email info@nlsportraad.nl or call 070-3407273 and ask for Annet Tiessen-Raaphorst or Lennart Langbroek.