Korfball has Dutch origins. In 1902 Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch school teacher from Amsterdam, was sent to Naas, a town in Sweden, to follow an educational course about teaching gymnastics to children. This is where he was introduced to the Swedish game 'ringboll'. In ringboll one could score points by throwing the ball through a ring that was attached to 3 m pole. Men and women played together, and the field was divided into three zones. Players could not leave their zone.
Broekhuysen was inspired and when he returned to Amsterdam he decided to teach his students a similar game. He replaced the ring with a basket (for which the Dutch word is "korf" or "mand"), so it was easier to see if a player had scored or not. Broekhuysen also simplified the rules so children could also understand and play it. Korfball was born. The main idea was the same as ringboll, but it now stood on its own.
The oldest still existing korfball club to never have merged with any other club is a Dutch korfball-club H.K.C. ALO from The Hague, Netherlands. H.K.C. ALO was founded on 1 February 1906.
At first there was considerable controversy about the sport, because the players were of both sexes. Several sports journalists refused to pay even the slightest attention to the new sport. Korfball-players were accused of being immoral. Even the sportswear was criticized, because the women were showing bare knees and ankles. A newspaper even wrote: "Korfball is a monster that spreads its claws to all sides". Yet korfball was featured as a demonstration sport in the Summer Olympics of 1920 and 1928