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National Outdoor Symposium

Explore. Enlight. Experience

Fontys Sport Hogeschool organized and held the first National Outdoor Symposium on March 15.

It had been two years in the making and culminated in a day of presentations and workshops from Dutch and Belgian experts in industry, research and education.

Ted Toussaint – Burke was the brains behind the idea after noticing that there were no symposiums in the Netherlands where theory and scientific research were linked with the practical side of the outdoor sport and movement world. As a result, there is little knowledge about what kind of research is being conducted in the Netherlands, and what implications there are for both education and professional fields. The organizers aimed to bridge that gap and bring industry leaders, researchers, educators and students together to stimulate new ideas and present up to date information with each other.

The morning session included the opening address and two keynote speakers. This was followed up with a number of workshops and lunch. The afternoon included a camp fire session, complete with acoustic guitar, further workshops, and concluded with drinks and time to network.

A noticeable theme that ran through the sessions was that of the rapid changes in the world, especially with the influence of new technologies and products, as well as with the current focus on sustainability. On the flip side, however, there are also factors which remain the same.

A great visual of two skiers was presented to demonstrate this point. The first image, an old photo of a skier from a few decades ago, was contrasted with that of a very contemporary urban skier performing a trick on a brick wall. At first glance, they were indeed different, not to mention that urban skiing was unheard of until quite recently. But there were also many constants  – both skiers used skis, poles and needed snow. Skiing was also initially seen as a daredevil sport, only done by a certain group of people, much like urban skiing is today.

In between all of these presentations, the audience was also treated to a pole dance by Dutch champion, Yvonne Smink. Her strength, flexibility, and stamina were second to none. But what did this have to do with an Outdoor Symposium? Yvonne later explained the relationship can be found in the evolution of her sport – from something that was performed exclusively in clubs in the past, to what is now a competitive sport. Both pole dancing and outdoor sports have seen changes and growth over time, and they will continue to evolve.

The symposium was very interesting and appeared to be quite successful, with talks already underway for a similar event to take place next year in either the Netherlands or Belgium.

If you’re interested in any future events, keep an eye on Fontys Sporthogeschool

Or if you’d like to find out more about the Dutch champion Pole Dancer, take a look at Yvonne Smink

This article was also published on Eindhoven News

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