Leisure will not be locked down: Insights on leisure and COVID-19 from the Netherlands

Marco van Leeuwen, Yvonne Klerks, B Bargeman, J Heslinga, Marcel Bastiaansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 virus and the measures taken to prevent its spread have had enormous impact on society, and specifically on people’s leisure behaviour in the Netherlands. The Dutch government implemented a so-called “intelligent lockdown” mid-March 2020. This constituted a partial closing of the economy, particularly those locations and businesses where social distancing could not be practiced. By July of 2020, many restrictions had already been lifted, but the concept of the “1.5 meter society” was retained, thus still prohibiting large-scale gatherings such as festivals, and severely limiting the capacity of leisure venues. During the lockdown period, people spent more leisure time at home and with their family. This caused a spike in the popularity of social media-related leisure, gaming, television (especially streaming services), but also a revaluing of more “traditional” forms of leisure. Since many leisure facilities were closed, self-organized outdoor leisure activities such as hiking, running, and cycling became even more popular. The psychological impact included heightened stress, anxiety, and confusion. The economic impact is expected to be significant, but the leisure sector is showing its resilience by figuring out new ways of continuing operations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-343
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Leisure
  • Netherlands


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