Robert Meeuwsen is a professional beach volleyball athlete. He became a world champion in 2013 with his partner Alexander Brouwer and won the bronze medal at the Olympics in 2016. He grew up in Nieuwegein, a small city south of the city of Utrecht. Nieuwegein is part of the Green Heart (het Groene Hart) of the Netherlands. It is categorised as ‘National Landscape’, where a unique combination of agricultural area, nature and cultural history can be found.
Robert Meeuwsen - © Red Bull Content Pool
Growing up in a green city, Meeuwsen loved the outdoors, especially for playing sports. At the age of 16 he came in contact with his true passion: beach volleyball. “During my high school years, I travelled every week to the Biltse Duinen to play beach volleyball. The best thing about this sandy plain in the middle of the forest was that you had to walk through the forest to get there and then set up your own volleyball fields. After a day big training day, we often sat by the campfire and later went home with pitch-black feet. Outside volleyball (or beach volleyball) is so much more dynamic, it can be done in so many different places. To play my favourite sport outside in the fresh air and in the middle of nature is very precious to me.”
Nowadays, Meeuwsen comes back home every September to play volleyball in Utrecht during King of the Court tournament. “Utrecht is starting to become a large player in the beach volleyball scene. For years it has been a regular stop of the Eredivisie beach tour. It also co-hosted the European Beach Volleyball Championship in 2018. However, the largest and most spectacular tournament that has been and will be organised in Utrecht, is King of the Court, a new discipline within beach volleyball.” Meeuwsen takes part in this tournament since 2017 when it was launched. “A new tournament like King of the Court always triggers to think outside of the box. Next to enjoying the game, we are constantly looking for loopholes to bend the rules encouraged by the organisers as they use it to get to the perfect concept”.
Meeuwsen believes Utrecht is the perfect location for an international beach volleyball tournament like King of the Court. “I think the combination of green surroundings and urbanisation makes Utrecht an extremely suitable location as it fits in perfectly with the urban setting of King of the Court. Furthermore, being back at the court in Utrecht feels like coming home. I still visit Utrecht and Nieuwegein often to see my friends and relatives. I have lived here with great pleasure for 20 years and may return after my sports career.”