Every Winter Olympics the world seems to be amazed about the typical Dutch ice-skating skills. From gold to bronze, they always try to steal the medals. But where does this love for ice-skating come from?
One of the reasons why the Dutch people are so enthusiastic about the ice comes from the Reformation, claims ice-specialist Marnix Koolhaas. “Ice skating took place at big festivals like Carnaval. People felt free and independent on the ice. They escaped all the strict standards and laws for a moment. This feeling of freedom probably remained until now.”
“During the edition of the trip in 1942 several people died because of the harsh condition”
The second reason why there are so many people who perform this sport is simply because they are grown up with it. Probably all the elderly people will tell you how much they love the sport. Especially in Friesland you will find the dedication of the grown-ups to learn the children how to skate. The reason behind that is probably because of the Elfstedentocht (literally ‘the eleven cities tour’). This is a 199-kilometre ice skating tour towards Friesland. During the edition of the trip in 1942 several people died because of the harsh condition.
But despite the negative things and the cold the ice brings, the happiness of the freedom on the ice will never fade by the Dutch.
“Skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam”
The American NBC commentator Katie Couric actually claimed another explanation for the ice-skating skills. “Skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam, which sits as sea-level. As you all know it has lots of canals that can freeze in the winter, so for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place and also to have fun.”
The statement was quickly mocked on social media and Couric apologized. But for the one who still wonder: even though ice-skating is in our blood, we prefer going to work in a car. Also Sven Kramer.