Cruyff Court Molenbeek sets the youth in motion

Dream comes true 2 years after the attacks of 22 March

Today, exactly two years after the attacks on the airport of Zaventem and Maalbeek metro station, the Cruyff Court Molenbeek will be officially opened in the presence of Didier Reynders (Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Stef Blok (Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs) in the Parc des Muses, near RWDM's Edmond Machtens Stadium. Through sport and play the initiators PlayandPeace, the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the commune of Molenbeek, want young people to connect around themes such as respect, team spirit, integration and self-development. This unique meeting place in a neighborhood that is all too often negatively portrayed, is created thanks to the enthusiasm and financial support of the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, numerous national and local partner companies and Rotary Clubs from several countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Hongkong - China, ..).

The Cruyff Court Molenbeek is realized thanks to the perseverance and commitment of Unico van Kooten and Ahmed Larouz of PlayandPeace. After the attacks in Brussels and the death of Johan Cruijff two days later, they have brought together partners to make their dream come true: creating a Cruyff Court. Together with the Rotary, the business community and the municipality of Saint-Jeans-Molenbeek the challenge is ultimately completed.

Cruyff Court brings the youth together in a sportive way

Cruyff Courts are bringing sports in areas where children have little room for maneuver. Children need a safe place that encourages them to play outside. That’s what Cruyff Courts are: a safe place to get together, play and gather experiences. A place where children get to know the importance of togetherness, making friends, discovering your own talents, and winning and losing. These are valuable experiences that they carry with them as they develop physically and mentally, and as they move into society.  

Already over 200 communities worldwide have encountered this. As of today, by opening the Cruyff Court Molenbeek, we would also like to bring hope back into a municipality that has been in difficult waters since the attacks two years ago. This act of hope reaffirms that every child deserves a healthy future.

Niels Meijer, Director of the Cruyff Foundation : "We are very happy that we have realized, together with all the partners concerned, a safe meeting point where children will be able to discover the importance of togetherness, close friendships, discover their own talents and experience what it is like to win and lose. Valuable experiences that they will take away in their development on physical and mental level. "

Françoise Schepmans, Mayor of  Molenbeek-Saint-Jean: "I am tremendously pleased that we have achieved together with PlayandPeace, the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the many other partners this fantastic project. I'm very looking forward to give young people from our Community the opportunity to experience themselves the importance of values such as respect, responsibility and self-confidence on the playing field of the Cruyff Court. I am also very happy with the partnership that has been set up with the team of the RWDM Girls who provide the first Cruyff coaches. "

Ahmed El Khannouss, Alderman of Sport of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean: "Johan Cruyff said: ' footballers who play in the streets are more important than the graduated trainers. ' I share, more than anyone, this vision. A ' Cruyff Court ' in Molenbeek is symbolic of surpassing oneself. It is about brotherhood, humanity and experiencing dreams of our young street footballers. It is Cruijf’s soul, that inspires them. Especially since this project, has besides a sportive also a social dimension which will make it possible to work on the social emancipation of young people in the neighborhood. "

Cruyff Court Molenbeek for and by young people

From the end of April children from Molenbeek are being supported during their sport activities by Cruyff Coaches. The first Coaches- Imane Elm and Doranthina Likay - are two young ladies educated by the Cruyff Foundation, to train young people aged from 6 years.

Doranthina Likay : "I have a huge ambition and already as young kid football is for me more than a passion alone. My secondary education was at a sports academy and enabled me to coach others and this is something I've always wanted to do. To educate children whilst playing Is fun, but it is equally important to accompany them and see how they can play in a respectful way together and achieve greatness. Learning to share and to learn to live together with each its qualities and or restrictions is just stunning. "

Imane Elm adds: "Sport is important for the development of every child. I think it's super that the Cruyff Court is opened today in the neighborhood where I grew up and in the municipality that is too often poorly viewed. Our Community will come in the positive light again through Cruyff Court. I am working very hard at the RWDM Girls and want to make sure that we radiate a positive image and that every player gets the chance to develop themselves. This mentality I will take with me to the Cruyff Court. "

A message of hope

Abdallah Lahlali , victim of the terrorist attack at the airport and one of the driving forces of the Association Life4Brussels supports the Cruyff Court Molenbeek: "My family, Life4Brussels and my dreams have helped me to make progress. One of my dreams was to be able to play football again with my son Soufiane. With the Cruyff Court this dream has become a reality. I hope the Cruyff Court is an inspiring place that gives children hope and let them dream of a positive future. Along with the initiators, I am committed to make young people from the area more resilient. "


Practical info
Cruyff Court Molenbeek
Muzenpark, corner Piron Brigade Avenue-Ossegemstraat
1080 Saint-Jeans-Molenbeek


About PlayandPeace
The PlayandPeace platform is to bring people together by working together on a specific project: the Cruyff Court in Molenbeek. A lasting sporting meeting place in the district.

About the Johan Cruyff Foundation
The Cruyff Foundation brings the youth into motion, enables them to play together and grow in their development. By sports and play, children are fitter, they learn to interact with each other and they develop themselves. That is why we want to encourage them to move with our projects like the Cruyff Courts, Schoolplein14 and the sports projects for children with disabilities. Each week we set thousands of children in motion.

Contact us
About Play & Peace

To bring positive development in Brussels to contribute to cohesion and fight fear by bringing people's diversity 2gether by a sportive challenge: Play&Peace. Connecting people for a common goal, develop dialogue and contribute towards the concept of ‘unity in diversity’ through combined actions on sports.