Are you planning a trip to the Netherlands, or maybe you’re going to live there for a while. But you want to keep up your climbing. Then it might be helpful to know that this country has zero natural climbable rock
But don’t be sad. We compensate for the flatness of our country with tons of climbing and boulder gyms. Of course it’s not the same as a good outdoor adventure, but you can train and keep up your fitness for the trips to all these great climbing destinations
Since the late ‘80’s the first rock climbing gyms appeared in the Netherlands. By the late ‘00’s the first boulder gyms appeared. At the moment of writing the country counts 39 climbing gyms and 25 boulder gyms. Most climbing gyms also have a small boulder section, but they are usually not of the same quality as the gyms completely dedicated to bouldering.
I’ve climbed in many different gyms across the country. The quality of the gyms varies wildly. I’ve done most of my climbing at Mountain Network, who has currently seven locations in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, Dordrecht, Heerenveen, Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Nieuwegein. I’ve been to all at least once except for the new separate boulder gym in Arnhem.
I enjoy climbing at Mountain Network because of the quality of walls,rope and holds. Routes are reset often, so there’s enough variety when you’re a regular climber. When you have any form of membership with them you can use that at all locations. In the list of websites below you’ll find links to the NKBV (Dutch climbing and mountain sports association) pages with all climbing and boulder gyms across the country. If you want to use google to find gyms, use these two terms: klimhal (climbing gym) and boulderhal (boulder gym).
Be aware that a gym might ask proof of experience, it depends on what gym you go to how strict they are and what proof you need to offer.
Even though climbing on natural rock in the Netherlands is not an option there are still places that offer outdoor climbing. There are a few free options to climb or boulder. The ones I’m aware of is the lead climb wall in Spaarnwoude, the bunkers near IJmuiden and Schieveste in Schiedam. Links will be in the list of websites. Gyms that have an outdoor option are; Bjoeks, Neoliet Utrecht, Mountain Network Leeuwarden, Monte Cervino, Fliegerhorst, Rock Steady and Klimhal Amsterdam
Traveling to the gyms
Most climbing locations can be reached best by car. A few are easily reached by public transport or bicycle, but that won’t be more than a handful. Be aware that around some gyms it’s a paid parking area.
All gyms I’ve been to have top rope setups around the full gym. Some gyms have portions where it’s lead climbing only, where in some cases you have to bring your own lead rope. But most gyms also provide lead ropes. In most gyms across the country you tie in using the figure 8 knot, however in some gyms the knot is already in the rope and you have to tie in using a locking carabiner or two opposite screw carabiners.
When you’re planning to climb outdoors at one of the gyms then bring your own rope for sure, if you have it. Saves you the hassle of renting.
All the gear (shoes, harness, carabiners, rope and belay gear) you might need for climbing is all available to rent in most gyms.
Climbing has become fairly popular over the last few years, resulting in a big community of climbers. So it won’t be too hard to find climbing partners. There are two facebook groups that could be useful for finding a partner, both are listed below. One is focussed on Amsterdam, the other is country wide.
Another way to find a partner is to walk into a gym on a busy night and ast staff if the know someone who’s interested in new partners. Has worked for me at least twice.
Location of climbing gyms – https://nkbv.nl/kenniscentrum/klimhallen-en-verenigingen-in-nederland.html
Location of boulder gyms – https://nkbv.nl/kenniscentrum/boulderhallen-in-nederland.html
Finding climbing partners – https://www.facebook.com/groups/265537820155159/
Finding partners around Amsterdam – https://www.facebook.com/groups/76600526812/
Outdoor climbing Spaarnwoude – https://www.spaarnwoude.nl/zorgvrij/agenda/71
Bouldering on bunkers – https://www.thecrag.com/climbing/netherlands/amsterdam-city/area/2480854515
NKBV outdoor climbing – https://nkbv.nl/kenniscentrum/buiten-klimmen-in-nederland.html