Feb 9, 2012

Ice Skating the Famous Canals of Amsterdam

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As the deep freeze spreads across Europe, one country that is embracing the cooler weather is The Netherlands. With temperatures dropping to around -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier this week, many of Amsterdam’s iconic canals have frozen over, allowing residents and tourists to skate the city’s famed waterways. Popular canals such as Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht and Brouwersgracht have all frozen enough for people to skate on.

While skating on frozen canals is an annual occurrence for cities like Ottawa in Canada (on the Rideau Canal), it is a rarity in places like Amsterdam. So when the temperatures are right, the people flood to the ice.

The Dutch are optimistic that the temperatures may stay cold enough for the famous “Eleven Cities” aka “Elfstedentocht” speed skating race to occur. The last time the weather was cold enough for the race to happen was 15 years ago in 1997!

Elfstedentocht is the world’s largest speed skating competition and leisure skating tour at almost 200 km in length (124-miles). It is held in the province of Friesland, Netherlands and only happens when the entire course is at least 15cm thick. Approximately 15,000 participants took part in the last race. [Source: Wikipedia]

 

 

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Photograph via Geiz on Reddit

 

 

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