Netherlands last played at the Olympic Games 19 years ago and they were denied a spot at London 2012 when they lost to Russia in the qualifiers. In their two Olympic appearances they managed a sixth place finish in 1992 and fifth in 1996. At continental level they finished ninth at the 2013 European Championship in Germany and Switzerland. The Dutch team have already competed at the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan in June, an event they will host in 2019, and in September they will co-host the European Championship with Belgium.
At the World Grand Prix, Netherlands returned to top-tier Group 1 after they won the Group 2 competition in 2015 under Italian coach Giovanni Guidetti. It has been nine years since the Netherlands took gold in the 2007 edition. In 2014 they won eight of their nine pool matches and topped Group 2 at the end of the Intercontinental Round. In the Final Four they overcame Puerto Rico before losing to neighbours Belgium in a thrilling five-setter to finish second in the group. They were fourth at the 2009 World Grand Prix and won silver at the same year’s European Championship. More recently at the World Grand Prix they were seventh in 2010 and 12th in 2013. At the 2014 World Championship Gido Vermeulen led the Dutch to joint-13th place overall after they finished seventh in their second round pool.