10 of the BEST Dutch Kickboxing Gyms you should visit in 2023
Apart from my now obvious penchant for lists (I do love them ha ha). My desire to write this particular post is born from my ongoing love affair with the Netherlands, and in particular, the Dutch Kickboxing gyms!
- Mike’s Gym
- Hemmers Gym
- Vos Gym
- Mousid Gym
- SB Gym
- Mejiro Gym
- Colosseum Gym
- Team Holzken Gym
- Souwer Sports Institute
- Carbin All Style Gym
My History with Holland
A Little back story to add context, my family have very good friends (akin to relatives) that live in Holland. Because of this I have been going there (and they have been visiting us) since about as far back as I can remember.
I would like to say that this is all positive but as they would (on their trips over to us) frequently bring hand-me-down clothes from some of the older boys they had, I had some issues with it at times.
Let's just say that walking around Manchester in the Dutch fashion of that time did not exactly enamour me with some of my fellow kind hearted Mancunians.....
Aside from this though, I have always loved Holland.
Maybe because it is the only foreign country we ever went to? As something of a council estate family, going abroad for holidays was really not an option.
Or maybe it is because all the people there have always fascinated me? I love the laid back culture, bohemianism and everyone's ease at speaking multiple languages). I really could not tell you!
Training Martial Arts in Holland
However, once I started developing my passion for Martial Arts, Holland took on a whole new light for me. Like most people growing up with this interest in my era, I would read about (or watch on VHS) Dutch fighters such as Rob Kamen and Ramon Dekkers and be blown away by both their skill and their ferocious intensity.
This saw me at just 17 years old moving over to Holland on my own to live. I got a job labouring with a family friend on the old boat houses by the harbour front in Dordrecht. It was my first introduction to really hard graft as I was often doing 10-12 hours a day. In my spare time I set about emerging myself into Dutch culture.
I was living in Eindhoven. My lack of a driving licence and low funds meant I was limited to an old bicycle. Kindly given to me for free on arrival. As it seems everyone in Holland must own one or risk being cast out as some kind of social delinquent!
I busied myself trying out all the different gyms that I could bike to during the week. This entailed going to Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Taekwondo clubs locally. I would train after work and catch a train to Amsterdam for the same at the weekend.
What were my first impressions? Well, the Dutch trainers were no nonsense. At that time they spoke little English when coaching so I had to learn visually a lot to begin with.
I did start to attend night school to learn Dutch at this point. Unfortunately, I never really made it past the light conversation, swear words and cheap pick up lines level of ability.
If the Kickboxing training sessions were hard, the sparring was harder. Thankfully, I had come from a background in the UK where I had already trained for a few years. I had competed and was not a stranger to gym wars. Even so though, I had my eyes well and truly opened at times.
I had considered myself a decent level (the folly of youth I know) at striking. A Turkish guy and Thai kid both brought me back down to Earth in my first few spars there.
What is great about Dutch Kickboxing?
Anyway, I am carrying on with myself and that is not why you clicked on this post is it?
Fast forward to present day! Because of my work running the Warrior Collective I have since been back to Holland many times over the years. Visiting as many great gyms as I could each time I found myself in the country.
So then, what makes a great Dutch Kickboxing gym to visit for someone and what should they consider?
Well firstly, if you live like I do in Europe, the Netherlands are easily accessible. Everyone in the country typically speaks great English. Staying there, travelling internally and training holds no problems from a communication point of view.
Things to consider
My caveats really are that it is wise to have some training experience already before going. Beginners won't get the best out of Holland!
Be prepared for harder sparring than you may currently be used to! Don't take it personally, it is the culture and most gyms follow this approach at times!
Most gyms have what is referred to as Meat Loaf Wednesday. Not only a traditional dish in Holland. It is also the name they give to their weekly hard sparring session!! See below for a few fun clips from my travels filming such training in Holland;
I have put together this list though by focusing on the following; quality of facility, experience of instruction, amount of training available to a visiting practitioner and level of sparring partners available.
After much deliberation, here are the 10 Dutch Kickboxing Gyms that I would recommend for anyone wanting to experience training in the Netherlands in 2023;
Mike's Gym - Amsterdam
Mike's Gym is a world-renowned location. The Amsterdam based gym has been consistently producing elite Kickboxers for a long time.
Fighters from a wide range of back grounds compete on a diverse a list of promotions. UFC, Glory Kickboxing and K1 to name but a few. This ensures that their experience at the highest level is second to none.
Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoeff and Serhiy Adamchuck have all called this gym home at some point in their careers.
Mike Passenier is the man behind both the name and the success of what is now a globally recognised brand. The logo of which features the outline of one of his first ever fighters from back when he started coaching.
This fact alone allows a little glimpse into how much he values his fighters. He has made his gym into a dominant force by adhering to an ethos of discipline, hard training and teamwork.
Uniquely gifted in not just the way he develops his fighters skills/game plans. He also motivates them right up to the point they get into the ring or cage.
His walking of Melvin Manhoeff to fight with the collar/lead is an excellent example of this. The Gym's fighters don't just fight for personal gain, they fight for Mike and the team equally as much!
The facility at Mike's gym is phenomenal. From the reception through to the strength/conditioning section and kickboxing area, this place is going to blow your mind!!
It is located outside on the outskirts of Amsterdam. You will need to factor in a short bus journey or taxi ride to get there if staying in the centre. They do have onsite (and nearby) dorm style accommodation if you want to be conveniently situated..
The training timetable is huge and varied although you will need to have some decent existing skills to survive the pro sessions (I would recommend contacting them in advance if this is your aim).
All in all, I have been to Mike's Gym a few times now and I always look forward to going back, a place worthy of it's reputation.
Check their website out today at www.mikesgym.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms you should visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Hemmers Gym - Breda
Hemmers Gym has a rich history behind it. Cor Hemmers was the original founder of this gym. It's original name at that point in time was Golden Glory.
Cor was the step father and trainer to possibly the most famous fighter to have ever come out of Holland, Ramon Dekkers.
He is now currently one of the men behind the phenomenal promotion Glory Kickboxing and is the match maker behind each amazing event.
The coaching and running of the gym is now the responsibility of his son Nick Hemmers.
I could of course focus on all the successes this fantastic gym has had in the past but that is behind us and not the reason I include it in this list.
Nick had big shoes to fill following both the untimely passing of his brother Ramon and the leaving of Cor to Glory. But fill them he has, the gym has gone from strength to strength over the past few years with elite fighters such as Jamal Ben Saddik, Zack Mwekassa, Ariel Machado and Marat Grigorian all flourishing under his banner.
Nick has literally grown up surrounded by the best in the world. This experience coupled with his own passion and knowledge has made him into one of the most sought after coaches going!
Stepping into Hemmers Gym feels a little like getting a history lesson on all that makes Dutch Kickboxing what it is.
Facility wise, this gym is fantastic. The training mat/ring area is huge and the reception feels like a cool coffee shop. Tons of training available and you will never be amiss for excellent sparring partners here!
I am fortunate enough to have spent a substantial amount of time with both Nick and Cor so have no hesitations in recommending Hemmers Gym to anyone!!
Check their website out today at www.hemmersgym.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms you should visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Vos Gym - Amsterdam
Vos Gym is another gym firmly entrenched in Dutch Kickboxing history. One of the original pioneers of furthering the sport in the Netherlands Johan Vos, opened it way back in 1978.
After retiring in 1995 he handed the torch and responsibility for continuing his legacy over to internationally renowned fighter Ivan Hippolyte. He, alongside fellow coach Francois Lubbers, run Vos and has ensured it remains within the very top tier of world Kickboxing since that point.
There is a real Kyokushin vibe to the gym (which, if you know your history is one of the major influences on the present day Dutch system) with it's very hard approach to training/sparring being married to a strict ethos of respect and self-discipline.
Ivan is legendary within the sport and his experience is showcased daily in the standard of both his own coaching and in the levels of the fighters who train there.
People travel from all over Holland (and even further afield) to come for training. You can guarantee that each week their mats are filled with the cream of the crop of European K-1 talent.
You can learn more from Ivan no matter where you are located in the world by downloading either of his two amazing full length instructional volumes “K-1 Kickboxing - Dominating the Fight” and “The Vos Gym Kickboxing System - High Volume Striking". Both of which are featured on the Warrior Marketplace.
Vos gym has changed location a few times over the past 10 years. At its current address, the facility is excellent. A large open matted area edged completely on one side by bags.
Expect to see changing areas and a small reception when you visit. Most of the space within this building is set aside for training, as you might expect.
The talent on the mats in the open and pro sessions is super high level as you would expect.
Check their website out today at www.vosgymamsterdam.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Mousid Gym - Amsterdam
Founded originally in 1989. This gym is run by former Dutch, European and World Champion Mousid Akhamrane. Those savvy to great training flock to this gym in droves to benefit from both his experience and the phenomenal coaching on offer.
Mourad Bouzidi, Hafid El Boustati, Fikri Tijart and Mosab Amrani are just some of the amazing fighters to have come from Mousid!
Mousid's fighting record is extensive, having fought 83 fights with only 11 losses (6 of which he avenged in returning match ups) and his opponents included the likes of legends such as Lucien Carbin.
A much sought after coach internationally. He is also much in demand for seminars across the world. The gym is not huge but it is well laid out and a great place to train in.
What it lacks in size though, it more than makes up for with the levels of coaching and training partners available!
Check their website out today at www.mousidgym.nl to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
SB Gym - Utrecht
SB Gym is a new addition to this updated list for 2023. And not for no reason. Head coach and founder Said El Badaoui has done a truly amazing job over the past few years shaping SB Gym into the powerhouse it is today.
Located in Utrecht, which is about a 45 mins drive south from Amsterdam, SB Gym is home to a phenomenal assortment of top level fighters, including the likes of Ilias Ennahachi, Germaine de Randamie and Tayfun Ozcan.
Said El Badaoui
Said El Badaoui is a world renowned striking coach, well known for utilising his own system of Dutch Kickboxing training drills for fighter development with all of his athletes. His creative take on striking mixes the Dutch style of high volume aggression and pressure with high Fight IQ concepts and strategies.
Said originally started Kickboxing when he was a small child before having his first competitive fight not long after he turned 14. Competing regularly from that point on, he turned professional fighter just three years later at the age of 17.
Unfortunately, a severe motorcycle accident cut short his competitive career in 2001. He moved into coaching professionally in 2004. Since opening SB Gym, he regularly attracts fighters and coaches from all over the world to visit and train with him.
You can learn more from Said no matter where you are located in the world by downloading his amazing full length instructional volume “Dutch Kickboxing Training Drills - Fighter Development”, which is featured on the Warrior Marketplace.
The facility is one of the newest and more modern on this list. Set over two floors, there is a large matted area, 18 ft boxing ring, well kitted out bag area and extensively equipped strength and conditioning section.
Alongside Kickboxing, the gym also runs multiple training sessions in Crossfit, MMA and BJJ.
I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time here over the past few years so know it well. The timetable is large and varied with enough sessions available to suit any level of visitor, from novice to pro fighter. All is catered for!
Another boon for this gym is it's great reception/bar area. As it is a completely family affair behind this gym, everyone knows everyone so there is a brilliant vibe throughout.
I have personally bumped into friends from Canada there as they see SB Gym as being one of the best places in the world to visit and train at.
Check their website out today at www.sbgym.nl to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Mejiro Gym - Amsterdam
Andre Mannaart is the highly regarded man behind the Mejiro Gym. A former multiple time European and World Kickboxing Champion he took over the running of Mejiro Gym from his renowned coach and original founder/owner Jan Plas (whom himself had opened Mejiro in 1978) after he retired.
The gym can boast some of the biggest names in Kickboxing to have graced it's mats at one time or another including the likes of Rob Kamen, Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky and Andy Souwer.
Mejiro is always busy! A sign of just how popular this centrally located Amsterdam gym is. I have been there in the evening and seen classes that run back to back all completely rammed with people training.
Andre is an excellent coach, his old school approach to training is simple, show up, work hard and stay respectful.
It is a family affair as well with son Roel and daughter Sharon following in his footsteps, both successfully fighting at high levels in their own right and helping whenever necessary with the coaching on the mats.
I have always enjoyed my time with Andre, he is a no nonsense guy not easily impressed with the trappings of the modern day fight game!
The gym is not massive (in comparison to some of the monsters featured elsewhere on this list) but it is more than big enough for purpose, has fantastic coaching, loads of available training and an abundance of eager partners to work/spar with. What more could you want?
Check their website out today at www.mejirogym.nl to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Colosseum Gym - Utrecht
The Colosseum plays home to a couple of fighters (Peter Aerts and Mohammed Jaraya I am looking at you) that I am a big fan of and hosts sparring sessions with the craziest amount of talent (garnered from a wide range of other great Dutch Kickboxing Gyms) you could possibly wish for under one small roof (often including the likes of Rico Verhoeven and Hicham El Gaoui)!
It is real team that runs this gym and some of those taking the lead with coaching are the fantastic Danny de Vries, Daan Kortland, Willem van der Mark and Kevin van Heeckeren.
With fighters from here regularly on cards of the biggest promotions in Europe (Glory Kickboxing and Enfusion), it is clear they are doing more than a couple of things right.
With such a large amount of coaches and high level fighters resident, you really are spoilt for choice with regards to what you train in (they offer Kickboxing, Boxing and MMA) and who you do it with.
The gym is located in Utrecht, which if you are basing yourself in Amsterdam really is not too far a distance to travel. A great sized timetable means there is training available day and evening most days of the week.
The facility is great, good training space, dedicated fitness area and nice reception! Anyone who wants the opportunity to jump in on some sessions with a wide assortment of exceptional fighters really should take the time to visit here!!
Check their website out today at www.thecolosseum.nl see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Team Holzken - Helmond
Anyone reading this who has even the passing interest in the world of high level Kickboxing will know the name Nieky Holzken.
The multiple times World Champion has won accolades and awards aplenty throughout his competitive career for his exciting, high energy, attacking style of fighting (including fighter of the year and fight of the year).
Sjef Weber whom is also responsible for Nieky's training, is the other main coach to be found at Team Holzken.
Nieky is also an experienced and accomplished boxer, having fought and won 12 pro fights with no losses.
The gym has great coaching on tap with either of these exceptionally talented individuals and given that Nieky is still very active on the global fight scene today, the energy in the gym is always going to be high!
Chasing similar success are the large number of up and coming young fighters who are regularly competing under the Team Holzken banner.
As you would probably no doubt expect, the gym is impeccable! An excellent facility with a large training area, boxing ring and vast assortment of talented fighters to train with!
Check their website out today at www.teamholzken.com to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Souwer Sports Institute - Den Bosch
Another gym headed up by a world renowned fighter here in the form of Kickboxing and K-1 legend Andy Souwer.
Vastly experienced, he has won against some of the most well known names in Kickboxing, including the likes of Masato, Buakaw Banchamek, Albert Kraus and Mike Zambidis.
Now also a highly regarded instructor, he coaches regularly at his gym and can often be found travelling all around the world delivering seminars.
Andy Souwer is a two-time K-1 World MAX Champion, four-time Shoot boxing World tournament champion and globally renowned Dutch Kickboxer. Since his retirement from professional fighting in 2021 he has focused more of his energy back into coaching and training fighters.
Using his own Dutch Kickboxing system, he helps those that train with him reach their own goals within K-1 or any other striking based discipline.
Andy originally started Kickboxing when he was 7 years old and had his first competitive fight not long after he turned 8. Competing regularly at that point, he quickly became a Dutch Junior Champion.
Aged only 16 years old, he had his first A class fight and by 18 he held three different World titles. Considered a Kickboxing legend amongst his fans and peers, his career has seen him spend extensive time in Japan, where he has entertained crowds for many years with wins over elite opponents such as Masato, Buakaw Banchamek and Mike Zambidis.
You can learn more from Andy no matter where you are located in the world by downloading his amazing full length instructional volume “The Dutch Kickboxing System - Training Fighters to Win”, which is featured on the Warrior Marketplace.
The Souwer Sports Institute is situated where he first started training, in Den Bosch. It's facility has a big open matted space with plenty of bags and is visited often by many fighters and their teams wanting to train with Andy.
The timetable offers daytime, evening and weekend sessions in Kickboxing mainly but also incorporates MMA and BJJ for those with an interest in those areas.
You can expect to find great talent at this excellent gym with strong training and sparring partners aplenty!!
Check their website out today at www.souwersports.nl to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all their training, private lessons and how to contact them to arrange a visit!
Carbin All Style / Bien Fighters - Amsterdam
The Netherlands is literally filled with legendary Kickboxing names/Dutch Kickboxing Gyms and this last place on the list is no exception to that.
Carbin All Style is both the name of the gym and name of the system headed up by none other than globally renowned striking coach Lucien Carbin!
For those of you who need a quick history lesson, Lucien is a former multiple European/World champion in different disciplines (including Kyokushin Karate, Savate and Kickboxing) and the coach responsible for many top names including the likes of Alistair Overeem, Tyrone Spong, and Gilbert Yvel.
Lucien's much admired style of fighting is something that bears the hallmarks of his history (Kyokushin kicks for one) and his phenomenal coaching is much sought after across the world.
You can learn more from Lucien no matter where you are located in the world by downloading either of his two amazing full length instructional volumes “Carbin All Style Dutch Kickboxing System” and “Dutch Kickboxing Drills - Carbin All Style". Both of which are featured on the Warrior Marketplace.
Definitely not the biggest gym on this list, it is however more than adequately kitted out in every respect. Matted area for training, and a great strength and conditioning room attached, make for everything you need under one roof.
What can you expect here? Unparalleled training from one of the best in the game, it really is that simple!
He currently does not have a website set up yet for this gym so please contact him directly through his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CarbinAllStyle to see for yourself why I have included this in my 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit in 2023 list and for further information on all training, private lessons and how to arrange a visit!
It was actually pretty hard not to make this list containing my thoughts on 10 of the best Dutch Kickboxing Gyms to visit bigger as there were a good few others that could have easily been on it! What do you think of these gyms? Are there any others that you think I should have included???
If you enjoy this article then you may well love 7 Great Muay Thai books you NEED to have on your bookshelf or 10 of the BEST UK Muay Thai Gyms you should be visiting in 2023 as already featured on this site.
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