Urbansportsweekamsterdam.com: How do you explain the fast growth of bouldering in recent years?
Max van der Heijden: “Bouldering is a very accessible sport with simple rules. Climbing is something everybody can do, as it’s a basic human movement. Of the people who try bouldering, 70% returns. As a direct result the number of locations for bouldering has grown incredibly fast in recent years. A couple of years ago we had only 1 specific boulder location in the Netherlands, now there are 10 and 3 more locations will be opened soon.”
What makes bouldering an urban sport?
“Last month, at the kick off of the Urban Sports Week at the Museum Square I met athletes from inline skating, 3x3 basketball, freerunning and BMX. There are many similarities between athletes in bouldering and other urban sports. I think the atmosphere in bouldering is very similar to other urban sports like skateboarding and surfing.”
Can you imagine bouldering as a street event?
“It is definitely possible to do cool boulders in the city There are people who climb buildings for example. In Amsterdam there are some nice spots for bouldering, like brick walls. These are great to climb with crash pads for safety. However, to really improve your bouldering skills you'll have to go indoors.”
What is the importance for bouldering of being part of USWA?
“The Urban Sports Week will give more prominence to our sport. It’s good for bouldering to be featuring in an event with popular sports like skateboarding and 3x3 basketball. This is a new step in the development of bouldering. We are all hoping that climbing will be integrated in the Olympic Games in near future. This would further increase the international prestige of climbing.”
How special is the Westergasfabriek as a venue for the NK Boulder?
“Normally our competitions take place in boulder halls. To be showing our sport at a temporary venue at the Westergasfabriek will be great for both climbers and spectators. This amazing setting will make boulderers even more eager to show their best at the NK.”