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Kloot, the ball with which the game is played.
Klootschieten in Twente.

Klootschieten ("Ball shooting" in English) is a sport in the Netherlands and East Frisia, Germany. In the game, participants try to throw a ball (the kloot) as far as they can. It is most popular in the eastern regions of Twente and Achterhoek. It is known in Northern Germany and the Netherlands. The game is ultimately of Frisian origin.[1] It is a relatively difficult throwing style that requires speed, power, and concentration. The distance of the throw is measured by meters. The sport was connected to betting, drinking and disorderly conduct, often gaining a bad reputation and was banned a few times. Ultimately, this competitive game prevailed. Its first league was developed by Hinrick Dunkhase in 1902.[2] The sport divides into field fighting and stand fighting. Field fighting has two teams playing against each other, while stand fighting is individual. Stefan Albarus is the current record holder, throwing the ball 106.20 meters.[3]


The Klootschießen likely arose from an ancient Frisian weapon, which the Frisians flung on ships and opponents.[4] The Frisian fighters are said to have been feared for their missiles. The term Kloot comes from Low German and derives from Kluten. In further development of this sport, heavy flint bald and two-pound iron balls were used. Later, the wood from the apple tree was turned into fist-sized balls, which were pierce crosswise. The resulting cavity was filled with lead.

The Dutch reformer Jacobus van Oudenhoven took in 1659 the Kloot werpen on a Sunday after the service in his sins register.[5]

In the past, many concomitants were associated with Kloot shooting. So often competitions were held in which were played for money or other valuables. Since the sport was practiced in winter and in earlier times, the sportswear made it possible for deaths from pneumonia. A lot of alcohol was often consumed during the competition. It was even argued to get bloody at times. Accordingly, the sport was occasionally banned by the authorities, but ultimately the Klootschießen prevailed again and again.

Hinrich Dunkhase (1857-1905), in Burhave, Butjadingen, merged the Oldenburg and East Frisian klootschieten for the Friesian klootschieten Association (FRP) on May 25, 1902. [6] This was the first competitive league developed for the sport. Dunkhase was its chairman until his death.

In the National Socialist period, the FKV resisted the inclusion in the (NS) Reichsbund for physical exercises by not imputing to the organizations of sports, but wanted to know the Klootschießen in his tradition as a home and Friesenspiel understood. The FKV joined the Nazi cultural community and was able to maintain a certain degree of independence. Above all, Low German or Frisian could be spoken at the competition, which was prohibited in a sport. Only after the Second World War, the FKV oriented again and became a member of the National Sports Association Lower Saxony a sport.[7][8] The NKV is today the umbrella organization of more than 40,000 Klootschießers and Boßlern. The sport is now also represented in the Landessportbünden of NRW ( Klootschießer- and Boßelverband North Rhine-Westphalia ) and Schleswig-Holstein. European championships (as road bowling) have been held since 1969 (every four years since 1980) between the Netherlands, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Germany in the disciplines of standing competition, field competition and street riding. In the Netherlands there is the Dutch Klootschieters Bond (NKB, founded in 1967) and in Ireland the Irish Road Bowling Association (Irish: Ból Chumann na hÉireann). (founded in 1954). International umbrella organization is the International Bowlplaying Association (IBA, founded in 1969). Competitions also take place among Irish immigrants in the US and Canada as it is part of traditional Irish folk culture


There are three styles: field, street, and standing (veld, straat, and zetten).


In the field (veld) version of Klootschieten, it is the intention, alone or in a team, to reach a particular patch of grass and/or sand in as few throws as possible (similar in this respect to golf). The course contains curves and variations of height (small hills and valleys and such), so that skill as well as strength is an important factor.

The field kloot is a round ball of wood or synthetic material, made heavier with lead. The diameter of the kloot is mostly between 7 and 8 centimetres, but these can deviate according to the preference of the participants. There is a minimum diameter of 5 centimetres.


A road obviously designed for Boßeln [de] in Germany

In the street (straat) version of Klootschieten, the rules are approximately the same as in the field version, except that the course (being a street, country lane or similar) and the ball (being heavier) are different. An important consideration in the street version is to keep the ball away from obstacles such as ditches, gutters, streams, long grass etc., which would reduce the distance of ones "shoot". The experienced player will sometimes deliberately aim for such places on uphill stretches, to avoid the possibility of the ball rolling back downhill.


The goal in the standing or setting (zetten) style is to see how far the ball can travel in the air. Thus the measure of the throw ends at the point where the ball hits the ground (in contrast to the field and street variants).

Similar sports[edit]

In Germany a sport similar to field style Klootschieten is played, named "Boßeln" (Bosseln), while Klootschießen is the German name for the standing style. It is primarily played along the coast and borders of North Germany, such as in Ostfriesland, Oldenburg, Butjadingen, Dithmarschen, Nordfriesland, Emsland, and Grafschaft Bentheim. It is also played in some parts of the United States by German and Dutch immigrants.

In Ireland, a similar game is played under the name road bowling.

European championship[edit]

In May 2004, the European Championship was held in Westerstede, Germany.

At the adult level, the German FKB (Friesischer Klootschießer Connection) won all competitions. The individual winners:

  • Catriona O'Farrell (women's, veld)
  • Rena Ahlrichs (women's, straat)
  • Ute Uhrbrook (women's, zetten)
  • Dirk Taddigs (men's, veld)
  • Henning Feyen (men's, straat)
  • Stefan Albarus (men's, zetten)

In May 2008, the European Championships was held near Cork, Ireland.[9]


For the first time in 1935, the bullet was thrown over the 100-meter mark by Ostfriesen Gerd Gerdes. This record lasted until 1985, when Auricher Harm Henkel threw 102.00 meters. This record was dropped the same day by the "Bear of Ellens" Hans-Georg Bohlken with 105.20 meters. The current (as of January 2006) record is 106.20 meters, held by Stefan Albarus from the north in East Frisia.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ VÄTH, J., & MATTES, R. ‘Kloot’shooting in Northern Germany. Sport–Integration–Europe, 180.
  2. ^ Friesischer Klootschießer Verband e.V. – Satzung, abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2012.
  3. ^ Klootschießen – Der ewige Feldkampf. abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2012.
  4. ^ Klootschießen – Der ewige Feldkampf. abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2012.
  5. ^ Jacobus van Oudenhoven: Ingebroken Alblasser-waert, in Zuyd-Hollandt. J.B. Smient, Dordrecht 1659; Vgl. T. Brienen: Jacobus van Oudenhoven (1600–1690). In: T. Brienen u. a. (Hrsg.): Figuren en thema's van de Nadere Reformatie. De Groot Goudriaan, Kampen 1987, S. 43–51.
  6. ^ Friesischer Klootschießer Verband e.V. – Satzung, abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2012.
  7. ^ Arnd Krüger: Incorporating traditional games into modern sports. The German Experience. In: E. De Vroede, R. Renson (Hrsg.): Proceedings of the 2nd European Seminar on Traditional Games. Leuven 12 – 16 Sept. 1990. Vlaamse Volkssport Centrale, Löwen 1991, S. 45–54.
  8. ^ Arnd Krüger: Sport und Politik, Vom Turnvater Jahn zum Staatsamateur. Fackelträger, Hannover 1975, ISBN 3-7716-2087-2.
  9. ^ [1] Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Klootschießen – Der ewige Feldkampf. abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2012.

External links[edit]