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


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Aerial shot: Ice-skating on a Dutch lake, Zuidlaarder Meer at Meerwijck in the province of Groningen, The Netherlands.

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 to 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 …

Take more minutes to fly

For more visual meditation, watch the whole playlist on our YouTube channel or browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute to Fly“ on this website.

More about the Dutch fascination with ice and ice skating on „Blog: Abgetaucht“: Richtig Stimmung unter dem Gefrierpunkt.

Screenshot from video "Take a Minute to Fly 04 : Ice-capades": Aerial shot showing people ice-skating on a lake (Zuidlaarder Meer at Meerwijck in the province of Groningen, The Netherlands) under a light blue sky with darker blue ice on the lake itself and a more brownish tint along the canals with yellow to brown reeds some colourful houses in the background and forest around.
Canals of Meerwijck leading into the lake (Zuidlaarder Meer), Groningen (The Netherlands).

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