In 1879, fourteen-year-old Pim Mulier wrote a letter to the mayor of Haarlem. He had seen a strange and exciting ball game in England and requested an official area to play the new game. This modest beginning inspired the young man to bring several other sports to the Netherlands. Today, Mulier is considered the founding father of Dutch soccer. Thanks to this sport pioneer, Haarlem is known as the home of sports.
Haarlem boasts to being home to three of the oldest sporting clubs in the Netherlands; the Royal HFC soccer club (est. 1879), the cricket club Haarlemsche Cricket Club Rood en Wit (est. 1881), and Dutch lawn tennis club, HLTC (est. 1884). Completely overshadowed by these popular ball games, is one of the most interesting and ancient ball games of all: real tennis. Real tennis is over five hundred years old and was the game of the Golden Age. For noblemen, real tennis was “the sport of kings”, but for tennis lovers, it was “the king of sports”. Real tennis (also called court tennis) is the original racquet sport from which modern tennis is derived. It is a combination of tennis, squash and chess and the walls and roof are part of the playing field.