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Magical winter in the Netherlands: skating on natural ice

Posted on Feb 16, 2021 by

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In the ten years I lived in the Netherlands, I had the chance to see the frozen canals only three times. It’s quite rare nowadays for the temperatures to drop low enough for more than a few days so the canals can freeze over. February 2021 brought a full week of proper winter: first there was the snowstorm, then came the freezing. A wave of skating mania hit the entire country — when presented with the possibility of having frozen canals, people in the Netherlands could only speak and think about this. I don’t know how to skate, but I have an ice obsession, so I was as excited as anyone else. And boy, were we spoiled! Until the weekend came, every canal and lake in the country was covered in ice, and everyone was there to test it.

Frozen canals in Amsterdam are a wonderful view, but it’s been my wish for years to see Markermeer covered in ice and to walk on the frozen lake. That wish came true when I took the train and went to the beautiful city of Hoorn. I went straight to the port, not knowing what to expect, not knowing if the ice was thick enough. When I arrived there, I rejoiced at seeing the tall ships surrounded by ice and people skating around them. It was so beautiful I could cry!

Not only the landscape was amazing, but you could also hear the ice singing under the skates, like a sound coming from another planet. The wind was so cold that I could barely feel my legs after a while, but it was worth it! And I’m glad I had the courage to walk on the ice, even if not for long (I’m not as brave as the Dutch people). I will remember this day for a long time; who knows when I’ll have the chance to experience it again?!

Now I’ll let you enjoy some of the pictures I took that day in Hoorn:

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