Maarten van der Heijden, Netherlands’ High Performance Director, Secretary General Leaving After Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics

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Maarten van der Heijden (standing).

ERMELO, Netherlands, Feb. 6, 2020–Maarten van der Heijden, the Netherlands’ federation high performance director and secretary general, is leaving his post after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to pursue other equestrian activities.

The KNHS announced the forthcoming change in the post that he has held for 12 years, responsible for the federation’s top sport policy, talent development and international affairs.

He plans to focus more on international judging and providing equestrian and organizational advice/consultancy and training/coaching.

“It is time for a new, fresh wind,” said Maarten.

The Dutch federation credited him with contributing to unprecedented successes for Dutch equestrian sport since he took the job after the 2008 Olympics.

“In the past 12 years we have had the most successful years in the history of our equestrian sport,” he said. “That is amazing. At the same time, you see that moving up and down in successes takes place in all countries. After three years without a team medal, the dressage riders are clearly on their way back, with a beautiful, silver European Championship team medal in 2019. The recent Dutch results during the World Cups jumping at Jumping Amsterdam creates good jumping perspective and I look enthusiastically at the eventing riders who are preparing on their individual participation in Tokyo.

“We are not there yet, but I am confident that, after a few years with lesser results, we are on the brink of new, great success for TeamNL. I will pass the baton later this year with satisfaction and pride to my successor.”

Maarten is a FEI-4* judge. He competed at Big Tour in dressage, at 1.40-meter in jumping and national classes in eventing comparable with 2*. Maarten was previously a behavioral scientist and an executive in highly specialized treatment care and special education.