Innovation is crucial for sports clubs in the Netherlands to stay future-proof. Many sports clubs face challenges such as high competition, high energy prices, declining board members and outdated facilities. These problems are compounded by the changing consumption habits of new generations. Sports clubs can meet these challenges by innovating and responding intelligently to current social trends. With this in mind, TU Delft, KNVB, Municipality of Amsterdam, present the pilot project Innovation Clubhouse; a new clubhouse to be built as a unique lab in Amsterdam. Here, concrete technological and social innovations will be tested and developed further, with the knowledge and experience gained then being made available to clubs throughout the Netherlands.

Integral design

The Innovation Clubhouse will be built in Amsterdam. The clubhouse and its grounds will function as a living lab, a place for developing, testing and implementing innovations on various themes, such as climate change, energy & heat, logistics & mobility, education & learning, social inclusion, circular building, health & movement and of course, the sport itself.

The project's experimental nature allows an integrated design to address various neighborhood challenges. The Innovation Clubhouse is an opportunity to build community in the neighborhood, work toward a circular economy and take responsibility for the environment. The building will be made of biobased and circular materials based on a modular and easily adaptable design. The spaces and infill can be easily adjusted as activities change. A place that enables improvement in all levels of society and teaches us how to live together - now and in the future.

Innovation themes

Researchers from TU Delft conduct research from AMS Institute, the knowledge institute for metropolitan issues in Amsterdam, particularly in the areas of sustainability, circular building, energy conservation and mobility. For example, they focus on the questions of how sports clubs can contribute to energy and heat production for the neighborhood, how sports fields can be used as water buffers during major rainfall, and how the city's logistics can be improved by using mostly unused parking spaces as hubs for partial transport. It also looks at how sports clubs can organize their offerings in a smarter way to better connect with unattached athletes, high school students and other target groups who currently often drop out of sports clubs.

“Through the collaborative efforts of TU Delft, KNVB, AMS Institute and the Municipality of Amsterdam, we can push the boundaries of innovation. With sports clubs at the center, the AMS living lab approach to research, innovation, talent development and entrepreneurship will help advance technology and create concrete societal impact where it matters: on a neighborhood level. Clubhouses will be a driving force in making our cities liveable, sustainable, resilient and just.”

Kenneth Heijns

Managing Director

The engine of the neighborhood

Innovation Clubhouse aims not only to get more people moving and promote technological innovations but also to play a major role as a social point in the neighborhood. For example, integrating neighborhood functions, such as homework classes or a library branch, into the clubhouse can help improve social ties to the neighborhood. Moreover, because residents from all walks of life can be found at sports parks with some regularity, the Innovation Clubhouse can be an accessible and low-threshold first step to help people with financial problems, access to employment or low literacy.

“A sports club is a small society where everything comes together. Our Delft researchers look forward to getting to work on the many technical issues that come together within this living lab.”

Tim van der Hagen, Rector and Chairman of the TU Delft Board of Governors.

Innovation Clubhouse

Credit: Sonia Dubois

Innovation Clubhouse

Credit: Sonia Dubois

Innovation Clubhouse

Credit: Sonia Dubois

Collaboration & planning

TU Delft, KNVB and the City of Amsterdam have developed the Innovation Clubhouse concept in collaboration with AMS Institute, Sportinnovator, Triple Double and Space&Matter. In the coming period, the cooperation will be expanded with more parties to start the design and construction of the clubhouse in 2024. In 2025, the Innovation Clubhouse will open in Amsterdam. Successful examples developed in the Innovation Clubhouse can be adopted by other clubs in the Netherlands.