Tucked away in the southern part of Holland, in the western Netherlands, is the village and former municipality of Valkenburg. In 2006 a number of districts in the area were merged together to form the municipality and town of Katwijk, which now includes Valkenburg as one of its districts. Valkenburg offers school sports tours a great location with easy access from the major airports and a larger city, while still providing a village feel. One of the highlights of a trip to Valkenburg is the chance to learn about field hockey and how to play or improve students’ games. While in Valkenburg students will learn about the history of field hockey, some of the most famous players, and even get the chance to spend an afternoon at the Phantasialand amusement park.
Field Hockey – It is thought that depictions from Ancient Greece, circa 200 B.C.E., possibly illustrate one of the forerunners of modern field hockey; players in the images are chasing a ball with a horn. Now, young athletes on school sports tours no longer need to chase the ball with a horn, but instead use modern interpretations of the ‘stick’ that can be made from wood, fibreglass or other approved materials. During their time in Valkenburg students can learn much about the rules of outdoor field hockey and how it differs from the indoor variety. In addition, they will get to try out their new skills on and off the pitches, with specialised coaches and organised matches against other teams in the area.
Famous Faces of Field Hockey – As the second most popular sport in Holland, it should come as no surprise that the field hockey has its own list of famous names attached to it. While on school sports tours to Holland, learning how to play field hockey and improve individual and team skills, students are bound to come across some of them and be inspired to learn more about what made them great. Some of these players are: Australia’s Fergus Kavanagh and Kiel Brown; Spain’s Ramn Alegre, who was part of the 2008 Olympic silver medal winning team; and the UK players Simon Mantell, who helped his team finish fifth in the 2008 Olympics, and James Tindall, famous for being named the UK Hockey Writer’s Player of the Year in 2006.
Phantasialand – During school sports tours to Valkenburg, students will also need a chance to relax, wind down and simply have some fun. Just a short coach trip away is Phantasialand. Located in Western Germany, Phantasialand was once a family theme park, but has added a host of thrilling rides in recent years. The park has rollercoasters and shows aplenty. Most match the park’s various themed areas such as: Berlin, Fantasy, Mexico, China, Mystery, and Deep in Africa. Phantasialand is a perfect place for students to take a break from pounding the field hockey pitches of Valkenburg.