Elfstedentocht fever has gripped the nation this week, and whilst most of Europe has been concerned with piling on the layers and hibernating, the Dutch have been anxiously scraping snow off frozen lakes and canals and studying the thickness of ice.
The event in question is the world’s largest (and most irregular) speedskating competition. The course is 200km long and goes through 11 Frisian cities. Due to the milder winters, the event hasn’t taken place since ’97 but this week it was looking pretty promising.
After days of news reports on the thickness of ice, it seems that Elfstedentocht won’t be taking place due to weak spots in parts (it needs to be at least 15cm thick all the way round for the event to take place) and the possibility of the ice thawing over the weekend.
But don’t give up hope just yet, there’s still the possibility of another Big Freeze next week – frostbitten fingers crossed for that one! In the meantime, the country continues to relish its vast amounts of frozen water by skating along the canals…
…and creating makeshift terraces: