Korfball was invented in
1902 by Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch teacher who wanted a
game the boys and girls of his
school could play together. "Korf" is Dutch for
basket. Broekhuysen was probably inspired by playing
'Ringboll' (a type of netball) in Sweden. Basketball had also
been invented in 1891 in America, where there were flourishing separate
men's and women's games by the beginning of the 20th century.
Despite the new sport
meeting with social resistance from those who
thought it unseemly for men and women, or boys and girls, to
play sport together, it grew quickly to become popular across all
levels of society in Holland and Belgium. A Dutch national
association was formed as early as 1903.
The game was
demonstrated at the Olympics in 1920 (Antwerp) and 1928
(Amsterdam) and an International Korfball Federation
was established to promote the game worldwide in 1933.
The first British club
was set up in south London in 1946. Since then the
sport has spread out from London across the country, but many of the
best teams still hail from the south east, reflecting the head
start they enjoyed.
again as a demonstration sport at the Olympics in
1992, and is now played in more than 50 countries worldwide.