By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)

After a triumphant return in 2021, the Eurogames, Europe’s largest annual LGBTQ+ multi-sport event is set for its 2022 edition in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The event takes place July 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th that consists of 17 different sports with 2000 athletes expected to attend.

Nijmegen is a rather unusual choice for a city to host such an event when compared to larger cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. The city is home to about 180,000 people and is located on the west border of the country, only a few miles from the German border. It is the oldest city in the Netherlands and a former Roman colony, the archaeological remains of which continue to be found throughout the city.

Nijmegen is particularly known for an event called the “Four Days Marches” which takes place every July and is considered as the “largest multiple day marching event in the word” where thousands of people come to the city for a daily walk of 30km, 40km, or 50km (depending on conditioning level) as a way to promote awareness for exercise, fitness and sport. The event began in 1909 and has been held in Nijmegen since 1924. The four days of sport the Eurogames this week represent the spirit of the Four Days Marches and the benefits of exercise, fitness, and sport to the physical, mental, and social wellness of LGBTQ+ people. At the conclusion of the Eurogames 2022, the organizing committee will continue the legacy of the event in the spirit of the Four Days Marches with the “Gelderland Loves to Move!” campaign. Gelderland being the province in which Nijmegen is in, the Gelderland Loves to Move campaign will utilize the Eurogames 2022 as a platform to take action in making sport and exercise more inclusive and accessible for LGBTQ+ people. In addition, Nijmegen is planning to use the Eurogames 2022 as an opportunity to help build awareness, openness and tolerance of LGBTQ+ people in the city and surrounding areas. This will focus on the local sports clubs to promote diversity and inclusion in sport.

In addition to the sporting events, the Eurogames 2022 will include a large program of social events ranging from opening/closing ceremonies, parties, women specific events and also more general fitness and wellness activities. For all the athletes competing in Nijmegen this week, we hope you have a fun time and great results!

Photo Credit: Eurogames 2022