[Video] Vintage 1930s footage of ice skating in the Netherlands
Dutch ice skating has a long and colourful past. For a maritime country with often relatively mild temperatures in winter, the fact that ice skating is the most popular sport in the Netherlands may seem somewhat surprising to newcomers.
Skilful Dutch skaters of all ages
In many Dutch families, as soon as children are able to walk, they are put out on the ice. This accounts for the adept skills displayed on any skating rink populated by skilful Dutch skaters of all ages. This video of skaters in the 1930s in the Netherlands shows that some things never change.
The Dutch are such big fans of skating that there is a large-scale skating event of almost legendary status: the Eleven Cities Tour, or Elfstedentocht, which involves a 199-kilometre speed-skating tour through eleven towns in Friesland. The first edition took place in 1909 and since then, it has only happened 15 times. As ice begins to form and canals and lakes freeze over, skating enthusiasts all over the Netherlands wait in hope that the next one will soon come to pass.
Free and independent on the ice
The Netherlands even has its own ice-skating historian, Marnix Koolhaas, who has published a comprehensive book about the history of ice skating in the Netherlands. According to Koolhaas “People felt free and independent on the ice and were able to escape for a short time from the strict standards and laws.”
Video credit: Unknown Cinema