As far back as 1902, inspired by a game he had seen during a summer course in Sweden, Dutch school teacher Nico Broekhuysen developed korfball as an outdoor sport for mixed groups of boys and girls in Amsterdam. This led to the establishment of the Netherlands Korfball Association and the spread to the rest of the The netherlands and to the then Dutch colonial territories. Korfball was demonstrated at the Olympic Games of 1920 in Antwerp – which led to the establishment of the Belgian Korfball Association in 1921.
An International Korfball Bureau was set up in 1924, which in 1933 changed its name into Fédération Internationale de Korfball (FIK). Korfball groups in other countries started to form, but with limited financial resources it proved very hard to build sustainable korfball development. Still, the national federations of Belgium, Netherlands and Great Britain were able to join forces and organise the first international korfball tournament for their senior teams in 1963. This was followed bu the first edition of the international club tournament, the Europa Cup, in 1967.
The 1970’s proved to be a period of growth, with many more countries establishing national federations and collaboration between them to develop the game. This led to the first IKF World Korfball Championship in 1978. From that point onwards korfball grew and more countries joined the IKF. Various changes of the game were implemented in the years adterwards, with paramount changes such as the introduction of the artifical korf and the elimination of the middle zone in outdoor korfball.
The international competition calender expanded as well, with the addition of the youth tournaments such as the U19, U21 and U23 championships, as well as the addition of continental championships in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Americas.