Esports Around The World: Netherlands

Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.

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The Esports Around The World series profiles major & minor esports nations across the globe.
ESI Lisbon 2024


The Netherlands has a smaller esports scene compared to most of its European neighbours, particularly concerning esports successes and developments. However, the country has shown a willingness to support itsthe esports ecosystem.

Last year, this support gained global media attention with the country legally introducing esports visas. The drive to achieve this was by global esports organisation Team Liquid, whose roots are in the Netherlands, to allow its Starcraft II player Nikita ‘SKillous’ Gurevich to stay and compete in the country.

However, from a structural perspective, the Dutch esports scene has been largely limited to the sports simulation category. Whilst there have been attempts to branch out into more traditional esports scenes in the past, such as League of Legends’ Dutch League, the competition only lasted from 2020 – 2021 before merging with Belgium’s league. In fact, most regional leagues that include the Netherlands are typically batched together with other Benelux countries. 

The country’s most popular domestically-produced esports league is undoubtedly the eDivisie, an EA SPORTS FC-partnered league which features real-life Dutch football clubs. Whilst most of these football clubs only compete in EAFC, PSV Esports has competed in League of Legends’ regional scene in the past. 

Team Liquid has offices and its EU Alienware Training Facility in Utrecht, Netherlands, though the organisation also now has headquarters in California. Despite Dutch esports organisations being few and far between, in recent years some notable players have emerged from the Netherlands across a variety of esports titles. Perhaps the most known names include Dota 2 duo Melchior ‘Seleri’ Hillenkamp and Remco ‘Crystallis’ Arets, with the former winning two Majors. Meanwhile, older League of Legends esports fans will likely remember household Dutch name Fabian ‘Febiven’ Diepstraten, a two-time EU LCS (now LEC) champion with Fnatic.

Moreover, Dutch esports players such as Mark ‘Markoon’ van Woensel (League of Legends), Ole ‘oaly’ van Doorn (Rocket League), Joris ‘Joreuz’ Robben (Rocket League), Manuel “Bachoore” Bachoore (EAFC), and Joey ‘CRUC1AL’ Steusel (CS2) all compete at the top tiers of their respective titles.

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Government recognition

In 2020, the Dutch government recognised esports players as athletes. Team Liquid collaborated with the country’s Olympic Committee to receive the recognition for visa purposes. This is no small feat for a country that has a relatively small esports scene and doesn’t, from the outside at least, actively encourage esports developments like countries such as Germany, the UK, France and Spain.

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Notable Tournaments & Leagues

Most of the leagues catering to Dutch players are typically Benelux-wide leagues, though there are some notable Dutch events that have taken place.

DreamLeague Season 12League of Legends Elite Series
eDivisieRLCS 2022-23 – Fall Split Major
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Notable esports organisations

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.

Ajax EsportsTeam Gullit
mCon esportsTeam Liquid
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National Association(s) / Federation(s)

Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgment from ESI of its authority, works, or official capacity.

Dutch Esports Federation
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Education initiatives

Whilst esports educational initiatives in the Netherlands are scarce, there are a few opportunities still out there. Breda University of Applied Science’s Leisure & Events Management Bachelor’s degree has a section focusing on ‘Sports and Esports’. Meanwhile, Dutch college ROC van Amsterdam has a vocational degree called ‘Esports, Game & Event Manager’.

Outside of educational institutions, the H20 Esports Campus in Amsterdam offers a wide range of initiatives that look to bring schools closer to esports in the country. This includes offering school packages for students to visit the facility. In 2022, the esports programme of US-based Shenandoah University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with H20 to help develop better educational experiences for students.

This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. Article originally published: February 21st, 2024.

Esports Insider