Football and Prejudice in Belgium and the Netherlands

As with many other west European countries, the populations of Belgium and the Netherlands are quite diverse. With immigrants arriving from former colonies, European Union member-states and third countries, integration in these two societies has been ascribed a rather significant meaning, particularly, in the more liberal Netherlands. Yet cultural diversity is not only far from total, but is often undermined due to ethnic and racial discrimination. Considering that football has the capacity to reflect the population of a given country at national level, this essay examines the degree of ethnic and racial segregation – as witnessed in society – upon the composition of the Belgian and Dutch national football teams, in an attempt to demonstrate that social divisions are often replicated in the popular game.


Christos Kassimeris is the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at European University Cyprus

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