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SchieDistrict outdoor gym in Schiedam Netherlands

Schiedam, The Netherlands

Outdoor gym

Gyms in 2024: 3 / First one opened: Sep 2020 


Before investing in a permanent outdoor gym in 2021, Omnigym arranged a test period for Schiedam to test the equipment to ensure the gym meets users’ expectations. Feedback was gathered through Global User Study method. The test outdoor gym was praised by the users during the study period. The City of Schiedam actively listens to their citizens and makes an effort to know its inhabitants, and tailor the equipment and locations to fit the locals’ needs. Today Schiedam has three Omnigym outdoor gyms. The area of Schiedam is less than 20 square kilometers, so all the inhabitants have an outdoor gym within walking distance, providing easy accessibility for everyone.

The past 20 years, the way of exercising changed in the Netherlands. Exercising on own terms instead of scheduled practices at sports clubs has become more popular. Especially young people tend to lose their interest in organised sports during their high school years and wish to be more flexible. Municipalities have been figuring out ways to provide effective and safe possibilities for people to work out so that they could regain their interest in sports. Schiedam regularly sends an inquiry to the inhabitants to scout if they are interested in adding sports into their lives and what kind of exercise they would prefer. Many of them would like to exercise at the gym but expensive memberships are out of reach for many. By having Omnigym outdoor gyms, Schiedam offers a gym that is open 24/7, and accessible to everyone.

outdoor gym by the shore on Maasboulevard in Schiedam, Netherlands
Outdoor gym in a neighbourhood in Schiedam Netherlands
People at an outdoor gym in Schiedam
outdoor gym at SchieDistrict Schiedam
outdoor gym in autumn

Knowing the location

The first gym was installed in a traditional Dutch area where people tend to live in the same area from one generation to another. The area is densely populated, which limits the availability of (outdoor) sports. The free outdoor gym became well-liked. Schiedam soon noticed that the outdoor gym brought different age groups together. The younger people help out seniors with the equipment and training. Also because of the beautiful park surroundings, families come together, grownups working out and kids having their own games nearby. This is a good example of a gym providing the community more than just a place to do a workout, outdoor gyms serve as thriving hubs for different generations.

When the municipality made a decision to have another test gym, they scouted a location of inhabitants with diverse demographics from the first location. The second gym was again located in a densly populated area. The inhabitants are largely immigrants who have moved to the Netherlands for work. The gym was located in a central but a fairly industrial site. Despite the tricky positioning, the gym was used all the time. Thanks to the central location, the gym even became a destination for inhabitants from different neighbourhoods running or cycling to the gym to have their workouts. After the five-week test period , citizens were contacting the municipality through to ask for continuation of the pilot. Because of the huge request, the gym was made permanent. Investing in the second outdoor gym the municipality offered the inhabitants beneficial and desired activities.

The installation of the third outdoor gym was completed at the start of 2024 at Faassenplein. The demography of the area is marked by a larger senior population. Schiedam aims to also provide seniors a safe way to train and maintain their independence in day-to-day life. Progressive strength training is the most effective way to maintain performance to take care of oneself and prevent accidents.

Developing the municipality for the citizen

To help the city to develop resident-friendly spaces where people want to spend their time, Schiedam uses neighborhood coordinators. The coordinators’ job is to know the locals and forward their wishes regarding the development of new projects and other needs. The coordinators have their own small budget which they can utilize for neighborhood investments. For bigger projects however, they work with the other municipality departments to find ways to fulfil the request. “One coordinator was forwarding an inhabitant’s request for extra funding for the outdoor gym. Schiedam wanted to make sure that the neighborhood was behind this wish and not only one or two individuals. The inhabitant gathered signatures in the neighborhood, showing this was really a need among the community and convincing the municipality to build the new outdoor gym.” told Friede Berendsen, Sports & Wellness policy advisor for the City of Schiedam.
gym by a shore in netherlands
It’s the municipality’s responsibility to get people moving. That is our main focus. People who move live a longer happier life. That’s what we want. Happy people.”
Friede BerendsenSports & Wellness policy advisor


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