Our museum has plenty of history of its own. After starting in 1970 as a KU Leuven research project on sporting heritage, we opened as an actual museum in 2004. And we’ve never stopped developing. As we preserve and curate our sporting past, we also keep our eyes fixed firmly on the future. Read all about our mission, vision and transition.

Sportimonium is undergoing a complete transformation. We closed our permanent exhibition in 2022 after deciding that it was time to take the museum in a new direction: more dynamic, more innovative and ready to face the future.

In 2024 the Flemish government granted us the status of a supuralocal museum. That is our basis as we work in the coming years to achieve our ambitions: to restore our collection to the best possible condition, to create surprising travelling exhibitions, and to develop a new permanent exhibition space. All of this will enable us to get the museum back into tip-top shape.

If you’re curious about how this transition is unfolding, make sure to read our regular posts on our experiences and findings. Keep an eye on this page for all our news updates.

Sports history gets people moving. By using our collection as a starting point and offering accessible, dynamic presentations, Sportimonium aims to set people in motion, whether or not they engage in sports themselves. We want to illuminate the significance of sports and movement in a changing society. And to encourage everyone to think about sports. To do this, we work together with partners from the sporting world and heritage communities.

Sportimonium has big plans to grow and realise its ambitions. On the horizon is a museum with a dynamic exhibition in Hofstade, and a new exhibition site and museum concept in a city in central Flanders.
Our main strength is our collection of sports heritage objects, which is sustainably managed and kept up-to-date with respect for the past, present and future. A limited site that will open to the public in Hofstede is the jumping-off point for revolving temporary exhibitions that will encourage people to look at sports from various perspectives. With a focus on sporting disciplines on the one hand, and thematic approaches on the other, and in collaboration with stakeholders in the heritage and sporting sectors, we can create a unique dynamic that will appeal to a broad audience.
All of this will make Sportimonium an energetic and interesting place for people interested in sports, culture or both, where experience and reflection go hand in hand, and where watching sports and participating in them will spark ideas and emotions. The basis for this is a solid network of partners working together on concepts, organisation, promotion and funding at local, supuralocal, national and international levels.
Sportimonium’s current transition process will both prepare and fill out this ambition. In the period from 2024 to 2028 the museum will supplement its collection and experiment with new formats, partnerships and locations. From a base in Hofstade, and in collaboration with partners, Sportimonium will set out paths that will enrich the collection make it more cohesive, through valuation, documentation, research and exhibitions. The following points will be central to this:
  • An updated collection: The collection is Sportimonium’s main strength and most precious asset. By collecting valuable sporting heritage and preserving it in optimal condition, the museum is ensuring it will be available for future generations. But sporting heritage is far from static: the concept of sports is itself diverse and always in motion. On this basis, the museum is developing dynamic policy for the recognition and collection of objects. This will keep the collection up to date and promote multi-faceted interpretation, thanks to contributions from heritage communities and via research and presentations.
  • Partners as co-authors: As a ‘nomadic’ museum, Sportimonium works with partners on audience engagement and curation of its collection. Our partners are active in the heritage sector, the Flemish government, municipalities, sports federations and clubs, the academic world, the media and the business sector. Their involvement enables us to create our exhibitions. We engage in dialogue with them on the basis of shared aims and ambitions, laying the foundations for ongoing cooperation beyond 2028.
  • Working with heritage communities: Sports is teamwork.  With that in mind, whenever we work with partners in the heritage and sporting sector, we do our best to also involve communities of athletes and supporters, the people who do sports and those who enjoy watching them.
  • Travelling exhibitions as educational experiences: Sportimonium’s activities for visitors are the product of its own collection and its collaborations with partners. This brings opportunities for experimentation and learning: about the creation and location of physical exhibitions, combining digital and real-life objects, telling stories that will engage both sports fans and history buffs, and creating space for critical, intersectional dialogue.
  • Supralocal+: Sportimonium no longer meets criteria for national recognition as a museum, and has therefore opted for supralocal status for the period from 2024-2028. But it continues its efforts to appeal to a broad audience, for instance by maintaining national-level management of its collection. Being supralocal doesn’t limit the museum to a single region. Hofstede may be the home turf, but partnerships and outward-facing activities will take place across all of Flanders and be aimed at attracting visitors from all locations.