Sport participation in Switzerland

Stamm, Hanspeter; Lamprecht, Markus; Nagel, Siegfried (2016). Sport participation in Switzerland. In: Llopis-Goig, Ramón (ed.) Participación deportiva en Europa. Políticas, culturas y prácticas (pp. 209-229). Barcelona: Editorial UOC

[img] Text
Sportparticipation_SUI_V1_postscript.pdf - Submitted Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (75kB) | Request a copy

According to recent data, Switzerland is among the countries with the highest sport participation rates globally: In the 2007 "Sport and Leisure" study of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) of 34 countries, Switzerland was the country with the highest proportion of persons claiming to participate in sport "several times per week" (69%), and in a comparison of Swiss data with the Special Eurobarometer 334 of 2009 including 27 countries, Switzerland was among the top five European countries with respect to sports participation of at least once a week (Stamm and Lamprecht, 2011,, indicator 1.3).

Why does Switzerland have such exceptionally high sport participation rates? Before discussing some of the factors affecting sport participation in Switzerland, we shall first look at sports participation in somewhat more detail in the following section. Starting from an overview of the development of participation rates during the past 30 years we shall discuss social differences in participation rates, the relevance of different organisational settings, the most popular sports as well as the motivations to engage in sports. An important result emerging from this discussion is that the Swiss sport system is highly differentiated with respect to the dimensions just mentioned. In other words: the Swiss population has an extensive and open choice of different sports and ways to participate in them that may well explain some of the elevated participation rates.

In addition, it should also be noted that the increasing differentiation of the sports system has led to a blurring of the formerly clear distinction between competitive and "serious" sport on the one hand, and other physical activities such as hiking, cycling to work or swimming in lakes and rivers on the other hand. Thus, another reason for the comparatively high sport participation rates in Switzerland may also lie in the fact that the Swiss understand something else when asked "Are you participating in sport?" than persons from other countries that have a somewhat more restrictive and traditional view of sport. This observation of a potentially broader understanding of sports will have to be kept in mind in the following discussion of sport participation in Switzerland.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Sociology and Management

UniBE Contributor:

Lamprecht, Markus and Nagel, Siegfried


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Editorial UOC




Fabiola Friolet

Date Deposited:

12 Jan 2017 09:30

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2017 14:22

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Europa; Europäische Union; Gesellschaft; Politik; Sportpolitik; Sportsoziologie; Sportteilnahme; Sportökonomie;




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback