Prof. dr. Maarten van Bottenburg

Sport Matters
Sport and Society
+31 30 253 1573

Maarten van Bottenburg is professor of Public Administration and Organisation Science at Utrecht University and coordinator of Utrecht University's focus area 'Sport & Society'. In 2017 he held the Francqui Chair at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. 


Prior to his full-time appointment in 2009, he was also lecturer of sport business at Fontys University of Applied Sciences (2004-2009) and research director of the W.J.H. Mulier Institute – a leading centre for research on sports in society in the Netherlands (2002-2006), of which he was also one of the founders. Before 2002, he was managing director of a private social science research company specialised in matters of sports policy (1992-2002) and attached to the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research (1988-2002).


As such, Van Bottenburg has been engaged in both academic research and consultancy in the field of sports for thirty years. The common thread in his work is the question of how sport is developing as a social phenomenon, which public values and public issues arise from this, and how and why the organization and management of sport have an impact on those values and issues.


Van Bottenburg studied sociology at Utrecht University (candidate) and the University of Amsterdam (doctoral, cum laude) and was affiliated with the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam School for social science research from 1988 to 1992 as a PhD candidate. In 1994 he obtained his doctorate (cum laude) with a dissertation on the differential popularization of sports throughout the world. An English translation of this dissertation was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2001, entitled Global Games. Discussing apparently simple questions - such as why soccer is the most popular sport in the world but not in the United States and why the sports pattern of Australia is so much resembling that of Great Britain – this book not only aims to give an explanation for the differential popularization of sports throughout the world, but also a clearer understanding of the genesis of our global culture, cultural differences, and underlying dynamics.


In addition to this study, Van Bottenburg published several books, articles and reports on the social meanings and public issues of sport, such as social inclusion (club life), international prestige (medal rankings), violence (extreme fighting) and cheating (doping, match-fixing). Among others journals, he published in American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, Leisure Studies, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Journal of Sport History, Journal of Sport Management, Sport Management Review, European Sport Management Quarterly, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Sports Medicine and Substance Use and Misuse. As excursions outside his main discipline, Van Bottenburg published jubilee volumes of significant Dutch institutions in the realm of labour relations, health care and social security.


Van Bottenburg applied his knowledge in many ways in discussions with and commissioned by sports organisations (e.g. NOC*NSF, Royal Dutch Football Association, Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis Association, Athletics Union), foundations (e.g. Richard Krajicek Foundation, Johan Cruyff Foundation, Labour Foundation), governments (e.g. European Commission and Dutch ministries, provinces, municipalities), public institutions (e.g. Ziekenfondsraad, Sociale Verzekeringsbank) and companies (e.g. Nike, Heineken, Rabobank, Ricoh, Univé, Ernst & Young, Vaessen, Sport Funds Netherlands).


Van Bottenburg loves many sports, both as practitioner and follower. He was a member of football, tennis and gymnastics clubs, ran the Berlin Marathon (2001) and finished twice in the Elfstedentocht, a 200 kilometer skating tour irregularly held in the province of Friesland, Netherlands. Today, he focuses on running, fitness, skating, skiing and sailing.

Public administration and organization science: organizing societal issues
Inaugural lecture date