The EuroGames – It’s much more than a sporting event

Interview with project manager Joost (original from

March 25, 2022 | Bart Jansen

This summer, Nijmegen will host the EuroGames 2022. During the event, thousands of athletes from all across Europe will come together to play sports regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Joost van Wijngaarden is the project manager of the EuroGames 22 and he introduces us to this colorful event.

Pictures: Henk Beenen

Since 1992, the EuroGames have been held every year in various European cities. 

Last year this was Copenhagen and this year the event will take place in Nijmegen from 27 to 30 July. “The EGLSF (European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation) determines, in which city the EuroGames will be held. After a successful campaign in 2018, Nijmegen was chosen as the host for 2022” explains Joost.

At the moment there are 19 different sports on the program, but sports is not the only reason why the athletes come to Nijmegen, says Joost: “It is not about the level of sporting skill, but about meeting other athletes from the LGBTIQ+ community. So, for the athletes, it is more like a holiday in which they meet new people, exercise together, and celebrate together.”

Various Disciplines

Joost hopes to register about 2500 athletes. “People can sign up for well-known sports such as football and volleyball, but for example, there is also Bridge and Petanque. 

Many of these sports take place on various club grounds and they are also coordinated by them.” So, we depend on individuals and associations that are interested in organizing events.

In addition to being dependent on these clubs the EuroGames also greatly depend on volunteers. “Several aspects have already been planned, for example, the catering but if someone wants to organize a workshop or an activity, this is of course possible. The people who come to Nijmegen want to do fun things, so all ideas about activities are welcome,” explains Joost.

At the moment there is already a large group of volunteers. Once in a while, a get-together is organized for this group. According to Joost, it is important to organize these kinds of activities to help the volunteers keep in touch and feel appreciated. 

“Recently we arranged a reception with all the volunteers and groups involved, it was held in The Wasps rugby club in Nijmegen. Everyone was happy to see each other again, as corona had quite an impact on our planning and preparations over the past while. Besides drinks, we also enjoyed a short play by three students, some of the board were interviewed and this allowed everyone to put faces to names. 

All in all a very successful evening!”

Other Goals

In addition to sports and the inevitable parties, the EuroGames also has another goal, says Joost: “We also hope that this event will have a positive effect on the emancipation of the target group in the sports world. The Netherlands and certainly Nijmegen are already very progressive in that regard, but it is still difficult for football players, to come out, for example. An event like this should help to make it a topic for positive and open discussion.”

Joost would like to give people the opportunity to get acquainted with the EuroGames. “To be surprised by the atmosphere. This can be done as a volunteer or as a participant, but also as a spectator, for example during the opening ceremony on 27 July on the Waalkade. 

Everyone is welcome and that is what we want the event to project.”

Are you curious about the EuroGames? If so, please take a look at the website or follow EuroGames on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The event will take place from 27 to 30 July 2022.

Original article in Dutch: De EuroGames: veel meer dan een sportevenement – interview met projectmanager Joost | Into Nijmegen