In this episode of our new series “Take a Minute to Fly”, we’d like to introduce you to a Dutch wintry landscape. Cold winters can be beautiful and full of magic. In the Netherlands, there is a particular winter wonder: The transformation of the Dutch people. Several days of temperatures below freezing, and they seem to become restless. For some reason, they start inspecting their local canals and lakes, for any signs of ice.
Dutch wintry landscape
In places like these, they gather, to talk about the quality and thickness of the ice, as well as current weather predictions, and how much more frost is needed to have an ice sheet thick enough for them to do what they do best …
Ice-capades on lake
Waiting, hoping, wishing
You see, besides maybe football, nothing seems to get the Dutch more fired up than ice skating! All it takes is a couple of days with some proper sub-zero temperatures, and the Dutch start sharpening their blades. After that, they have to wait and hope that the cold persists long enough for them to do what they’ve been waiting for. When that moment finally arrives, they venture out on the ice by the thousands. The more that the cold weather persists, the more excited they seem to become. After all, there might be the chance of another legendary Elfstedentocht! (an ice-skating tour of 200km along 11 Friesian cities)
Ice-capades on lakes and canals
About a third of the Netherlands is below sea level, so water is literally everywhere. All this water makes it possible to get nearly any place in the Netherlands by way of boat. And when all these bodies of water freeze over, they become a massive playground for the entire population. It is beautiful to see the joy that freezing temperatures can bring to an entire nation! And after a year like 2020, these ice-scapades were a welcome relief from the bitter cold that is reality …