NOlympics in Amsterdam! | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 133 Number 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article examines the protests against the social impact of Amsterdam’s bid to host the Olympic Summer Games of 1992. Although sporting mega-events have become the topic of a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship, both the related histories of popular protest and governance remain relatively underexplored. The Dutch government established an Olympic organizing committee, consisting of governmental, commercial, and sporting stakeholders, which promoted the Amsterdam Olympics as a catalyst for economic and urban growth. By contrast, city inhabitants as well as local governmental bodies, squatters, and activist groups claimed their right to the city and contested the bid on the grounds of its negative impact on the quality of life and the environment in Amsterdam. International sporting events have always been contested for political reasons, but Amsterdam was one of the first cities where protesters opposed the Olympics’ overarching social impact. Although the protest’s scale remained relatively limited, protesters successfully targeted the International Olympic Committee and international press to present a negative image of Amsterdam as an Olympic host city. Activism against Amsterdam’s Olympic bid is an important precursor to more contemporary protest movements against sporting mega-events.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Olympic Games; sport history; sport mega-events; transnational protest; urban activism
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