Strengthening European Traditional Sports

Building a network to strengthen European traditional sports and games


In May 2015 VlaS submitted a new project proposal in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme: sport, collaborative partnerships 2015.



TS4H – Traditional Sports 4 health

Research about the ‘Health Enhancing Physical Activity” (HEPA) value of Traditional Sports (TS) and promotion of TS for health.  


The main applicant of the project is VlaS (Vlaamse Traditionele Sporten vzw; Flemish Traditional Sports – The strengths of the association:

-        27 years’ experience promoting traditional sports in Flanders.

-        Founding member of the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (ETSGA).

-        Leader European project: Strengthening European Traditional Sports (

-        Part of the UNESCO best practise “Ludodiversity” together with Sportimonium vzw.

Based upon 27 years of experience, VlaS observed a lot of obstacles in establishing a good and functioning network of traditional sports in Europe. Therefore we conducted the project: Strengthening European Traditional Sports. This in the framework of the preparatory actions: European partnerships on sport: “promoting traditional sports and games”. The outcomes of the projects were really productive. In total 45 different associations of traditional sports came together during three different conferences in North- and East-Europe (Amsterdam, Vilnius and Martfü). Good practises were shared and relevant topics were discussed. Two clear limitations emerged:

  1. The lack of international events for the promotion of TSG.

During the SETS conferences, the following reasons for the organisation for a festival were mentioned by the participants:

  • A first meeting point to get to know new TSG associations.
  • The best way to start an exchange
  • A way to make TSG more popular
  • An occasion to hold a seminar 
  • An opportunity to actively experience other TSG.
  • A possibility to share and learn each other’s disciplines.
  • A motivation for the members of a TSG-association.
  • An opportunity to showcase best practises about promoting TSG.
  • Participation in TSG-festival make us see that we are part of a bigger picture of TSG in the world.
  • Public entertainment
  • There can be a link to competition (championships in different disciplines)


  1. Many TSG experience a lack of recognition by authorities. Recognition of TSG as a sport is considered as important in order to get funding.

Therefore it is important for sport federations that their sport is seen as health enhancing. Often funding of a sport is linked to their health aspects. Unfortunately, the lack of evidence-based prove about the contribution of traditional sports to health is missing.


The idea for this new project is established in order to:

  1. meet the need for traditional sports to be considered as part of a healthy lifestyle.
  2. meet the need of traditional sports for promotion of their disciplines and their contribution to health.


This project aims to show/establish that active participation in traditional sports and games contributes to health and can thus be seen as HEPA.


The aims of the project will be achieved by implementing:

  1. Evidence based research about the value of traditional sports as health enhancing physical activity.
  2. Six traditional sport research events (spread over Europe and two each year) that consist of:
    1. A project meeting about the research and promotion.
    2. A practical day for testing the HEPA of the local traditional sport
    3. A media campaign at every event in order to raise consciousness about the HEPA value of traditional sports

The research events will be meant for promotion of TS with an important focus on exchange and on the value of TS for health.

start of the project: January 2016

end of the project: December 2018

Role of the partners

To organise a research event in your region

  • To cooperate at the six TS4H-events
  • To implement the research to the local traditional sport

The University-partner: to coordinate the research part of the project (design and methodology) and to cooperate at the six TS4H-events

  • The partners that helped build the application:

    *Belgium: Sportimonium (Flanders)
    *Belgium: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Flanders)
    *Greece: Public Benefit organisation of Kavala
    *Finland: Finnish baseball Association
    *Romania: Romanian Oina Association
    *Denmark: Gerlev Legepark
    *Spain: INEFC-Lleida