Belgian Olympic Academy


Country Belgium
Name of AcademyBelgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC)
Name of PresidentN/A
Contact PersonMatthias VAN BAELEN
Foundation date1981
Year of accession to EOA2020
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Meet our members – An interview series by the EOA

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To discover more about one of the EOA’s most recent members, Matthias Van Baelen from the Belgian Olympic Academy spoke to the EOA to explain how the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) organises the Olympic Academy of Belgium. Matthias Van Baelen is the External Affairs Manager and responsible contact person for the BOIC. In an online discussion, the EOA found out about the Belgian NOA’s unique organisational setup and recent developments of its primary Olympic Education project.

Although it only recently joined the EOA, the NOA of Belgium has in fact existed since 1981, when it was formed jointly by the BOIC, Ghent University and University of Louvain. Whilst the NOA legally falls under the remit of the BOIC, the partnering universities are responsible for the organisation and provision of a longstanding Master’s program in Sport Management, which is the NOA’s primary project. Matthias Van Baelen, himself an alumnus of this well-established course, explains that the Olympic Academy Master’s program is financed by a combination of university fees, Olympic Solidarity funding and research grants.

The Olympic Academy of Belgium is led by a steering committee which consists of Prof. Dr. Thierry Zintz of The University of Louvain, Prof. Dr. Annick Willem of Ghent University and Philippe Vander Putten, the CEO of BOIC. The committee is responsible for leading the Academy and for overseeing the Master’s course. This interinstitutional model demonstrates how a wide-reaching sports network can be created and also lays strong foundations for other successful projects in the future.

The renowned Master’s programme, which nowadays targets managers of sports organisations, has proven a successful medium to teach students about the Olympic movement and many alumni now hold a variety of positions within the Belgian sport system. Currently, the course has a format whereby students congregate every three months for residential sessions and teaching is conducted in Dutch, French and more recently in English too.

Projects of the Academy

Belgian Olympic Academy – Sport management educational programme for professionals in the field of sport 2020-2021, coordinated by the University of Ghent in cooperation with the University of Louvain-la-Neuve and the BOIC.
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