Kat Arthey taking social netball to a whole new level

Kat on the canals

One of our longest serving members and most recent departures is Kat Arthey. Originally from Suffolk, UK, she came to Amsterdam back in 2016 to do a two-year Masters degree at Utrecht University. Wasting no time, she joined Amsterdam Netball, and over the following two years, built up a whole new social network in more ways than one!

Kat was kind enough to share some of her highlights and reflections on her time with the club and explained how it made the difference to her Netherlands experience and ultimately renewed her passion for netball again.

Making the move…

I came to Amsterdam back in 2016 to do a two-year Masters degree at Utrecht University. I’d always wanted to live abroad and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. I chose to live in Amsterdam with my boyfriend. This way I could study in Utrecht but at the same time enjoy some ‘grown-up’ perks, like having a house to yourself and the weekends free. Once I’d finished my studies I worked for drinks company Schweppes.

Toward the end of 2018, I was keen to move back to the UK. Amsterdam had been absolutely great, but it was time for a change! I’ve started a new role in a small start-up and am now living in West London. It was a tough decision to leave, but I was ready to go onto the next chapter and explore a new city. Having said that, I’m definitely missing riding my fiets and eating bitterballen and biertjes!

Joining the club…

As soon as I moved to Amsterdam, my search for a sports team began. I had a brief stint at an indoor hockey club, before deciding it wasn’t for me. One evening after scrolling through the iamsterdam website, I came across the Amsterdam Netball Club. Netball in the Netherlands?! I couldn’t believe it! I went to my first training session in November 2016, back when the club was about 20 people in size and the only netball club to exist in the Netherlands at that time. I instantly loved the people, the enthusiasm and getting back into netball. I joined straight away!

Getting involved in social…

I remember when I first joined the club and feeling that sense of relief that there were other expats in Amsterdam, who didn’t speak Dutch… who didn’t know anyone… and who really, really enjoyed sport… I wasn’t alone! As much as I loved netball as a way to keep fit, I really valued it for the way it brought people together.

The club grew steadily throughout 2017, but it was not quite the organised structure that it is today. I first started having an active role in the club by organising social events, such as the Pub Quiz in 2017. The Social Committee was born later that year, which at the time was run by Social Committee Queen, Nadine. By Spring 2018, I became the Head of the Social Committee and continued in this role for the majority of 2018 until my departure. It involved managing the smooth running of the social committee, where we would organise social events and run the social media. We wanted to ensure that everyone felt welcomed into the club, and that we maintained a strong social media presence.

Boat Party 2
Kat welcoming new and existing members on a boat tour through Amsterdam

Social highlights…

The best times were going abroad for tournaments, hosting pre-drinks, the parties, the brunches, the Christmas socials… I enjoyed organising these events because everyone always got involved and made the most of the events we put on.

The Copenhagen ‘17 and Stockholm ‘18 tournaments were definite highlights for me. I also have fab memories from the boat parties we put on too. But most of all, I’m just generally proud of getting back into netball. I’m joining a team here in London now too – think it will be my sport for life!

Boat Party 1
Kat (2nd from right) with friends Barbara, Sebo and Claire (L-R)

A social legacy…

I would love to see two events continue: the End of Season meal and the Christmas Party. At the End of Season meal, I think the club felt a huge sense of achievement and unity, and it’s great to recognise the hard-working people who are behind the scenes making Amsterdam Netball run as smoothly as it does. And then, the Christmas Party is a great excuse to drinks loads and wear Christmas jumpers! I’m proud of our Instagram activity too; in 2017-2018 we grew by over 200 followers, which is great.

Most of all though, I valued the amazing friendships; my experience of living in Amsterdam was greatly improved due to being part of the club. It also rekindled my love for netball! Having given up netball back when I was 18, I have re-found my love for the sport and now consider myself a netball player again.

Kat at Stockholm
Kat in her Amsterdam team colours

As we wish Kat all the best in her return to the UK, Amsterdam Netball is looking forward to its next social chapter. If you are interested in coming on board or simply have some great social ideas, please get in touch with the executive or social committees.

By Blythe Forde

Blythe Forde is a member of Amsterdam Netball and regular content contributor.