Baseball was introduced in the Netherlands in the early years of the 20th century by Jan Grasé, who was a teacher English in Dutch capital Amsterdam. Grasé had studied in London (England), where he got acquainted with English sports as cricket and tennis. But he also knew the popularity of baseball in the United States of America. When the ‘Amsterdamsche Bond voor Lichamelijke Opvoeding’ (Amsterdam Federation for Physical Education) was founded in 1902, Grasé became its secretary. This organization promoted participating in outdoor sports and was looking for a sport during the summer months, which could become as popular as soccer was in the winter months. Grasé suggested baseball and so, somewhere around 1905, the sport was introduced. Demonstrations of baseball, as well as the first games, were played at a specially made field, which was located between the famous Rijksmuseum and Concert Hall in Amsterdam. The sport spread quickly, as Doetinchem in the eastern part of the country, also started to play the sport soon after. As was done in Haarlem around 1923. In following years, baseball was also being played in The Hague, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. Grasé made the first translations of the rules and also translated ‘baseball’ into ‘honkbal’. In a lookback to the origin of the sport in the Netherlands, Grasé stated that a baseball-like sport supposedly was played in the southeastern province of Zuid-Holland and was brought to North America by colonists some 200 years earlier. In those early years, baseball gained popularity, clubs were founded and that resulted in the founding of the Netherlands Baseball Federation on March 16, 1912. Grasé was one of the ‘founding fathers’, as was Emile Bleesing. Another pioneer, Baggelaar, who was the ‘father of umpiring’, also was involved in founding the ‘Nederlandsche Honkbal Bond’. Bleesing became the biggest name in the development of baseball in the Netherlands. This driven pioneer was a member of the federation’s board for 34 years, including 32 as chairman. He played and umpired, but most of all, he promoted the sport in those important early years. Bleesing wrote the game rules, held lectures, reported in newspapers and organized games against crewmembers of American (war)ships, who visited the Amsterdam-harbour. Bleesing also introduced the sport to (big) soccer-clubs, who began playing the sport to keep their players active during the summer. In 1922, the first official competition was played with Quick becoming the first Dutch champion in a league that existed of four Amsterdam-based clubs. Quick was founded in 1913 and still exists today. The first international game against another country was played on August 26, 1934 against Belgium with the Dutch Team winning 21-12. Four weeks later, in Antwerp (Belgium), the next game was played with the Dutch losing 19-17. In following years, the Federation received a Royal recognition and was named Royal Netherlands Baseball Federation (KNHB). During World War II, softball was introduced and a Softball Federation was founded in 1951. Towards the end of 1971, the Baseball and Softball Federations merged to become the current Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB), which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. In the fifties, the Dutch National Baseball Team started participating in European Championships. The Netherlands quickly became the best baseball-country in Europe, but in later years found its equal in Italy. The two countries still are meeting each other regularly in European finals on different (age) levels. Since the late seventies, more baseball-players from the Netherlands as well as the Netherlands Antillian islands of Aruba and Curaçao went on to play professionally. In recent years, several of them reached the Major League. An absolute highlight in Dutch baseball-history came in 2011 when the Netherlands Baseball Team captured the World Championship-title in Panama. In 2013, the Dutch Team reached the semi-final of the third World Baseball Classic. In 2013, Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox) became the first player of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to play for a team that won the World Series.