Coronavirus leads to cancellation of Dutch New Year’s Dive events
All countries have their own (strange) traditions, and the Netherlands is no different. Some are controversial (looking at you, zwarte piet) while others are unusual (gourmetten at Christmas? Where’s the turkey!?). But some are just downright crazy, and the craziest Dutch tradition has got to be the New Year’s Day Dive.
If you’re new to the Netherlands, or just don’t know much - if anything - about this Dutch tradition, the New Year’s Dive actually has a pretty long and interesting history. But if you were hoping to take part this year, or just wanted to wrap up warm and watch as other people subjected themselves to freezing temperatures, you’ll have to wait another 12 months.
Zandvoort and Scheveningen New Year’s Dives cancelled
While a number of dives take place on beaches across the Netherlands, the two largest events undoubtedly occur in Zandvoort and Scheveningen. But, back in October, the municipality of Zandvoort and the Zandvoort New Year’s Dive Foundation announced that they had decided to cancel the dive on January 1, 2021 due to coronavirus.
The dive in Zandvoort is the oldest in the Netherlands, dating back to 1960, and attracts thousands of people every year - regardless of the weather, participants and audience members alike flock to the beach for a chilly start to the new year. However, the foundation said the 2021 edition will not be able to take place as they cannot ensure the event can be organised safely while keeping in line with the coronavirus measures put in place by the government.
Then, at the beginning of December, the organisation responsible for the New Year’s Dive in Scheveningen announced that their event was also cancelled this year because of coronavirus.
Order North Sea water and host your own "dive"
A spokesperson for the Zandvoort foundation urged members of the public not to carry out their own New Year’s Dives this year, saying that the water can be extremely cold and the currents can be treacherous, and that there would be no emergency services present to ensure safety.
Organisers for both events said they were keen to offer alternatives to those who had hoped to take part. This year, people can order two cans of North Sea water (or make their own cans) which will allow them to carry out their very own coronavirus-proof “New Year’s Dive.”
Organisers of the Scheveningen event recommend chilling the water before you use it, to guarantee a refreshing dip: “We understand that it is a disappointment for many people. We, therefore, wanted to offer an alternative. People can now order cans of water, so that they can take a dip by throwing the water over each other in small groups, for example.”