In the Netherlands, excitement rises as soon as there’s a hint of frost in the air because all we want to do is go skating on natural ice . We all hope the rare and wonderful skating event we all feverishly anticipate – the Elfstedentocht – will be held. A race through 11 towns and cities over natural ice. This is only held when conditions allow. Frisians, however, keep a cool head, because until that happens you can usually start skating in De Alde Feanen much earlier.
Jan Durkspolder is usually where ice skaters first get the chance to venture out when the mercury drops. The shallow water means it’s relatively safe to go out on the ice. You can circle round endlessly on skates, alongside beds of reeds and vegetation protruding through the frozen surface.
Tips for a day out skating in Jan Durkspolder:
- Just like you have to make hay when the sun shines, you have to get your skates on when the water freezes over! In other words, make an early start, because you never know when you’ll get another opportunity.
- Always respect instructions on where you can and cannot skate. Even if skating on Jan Durkspolder is safe, other parts of De Alde Feanen might not be.
- Go skating in a group, also available for families. Keep an eye on Earnewâld ice club’s website when it freezes
- To keep yourself warm, wear multiple thin layers of clothing or thermal clothing which can easily be put on or taken off according to circumstances.
- Take dry clothes just in case, and some loose change for a nice cup of hot chocolate!
If you want to go skating in a more protected environment, visit one of the local ice rinks which can be found in most villages. The great thing is, as soon as it freezes, villagers do everything they can to facilitate ice-skating for all their enthusiasts. So, sharpen your skates!