News of: Wednesday, December 31 2008,
For the first time in 12 years, it may be possible that people can skate on ice in the canals of Amsterdam.
Due to the mild winters in the past decades, the canals in the centre of Amsterdam have not frozen for the last 12 years.
Traditionally, of the 17th century canals, only the Keizersgracht canal has been closed for all boats, in order to make it possible that a secure layer of ice builds. The other canals will be kept open, in order to protect the houseboats and to facilitate tourist tour boats and freight ships.
Ice-skating is one of the favourite pastimes of the Dutch.
It has been freezing now for a number of days in Amsterdam, and it is expected that - if the freezing continues - in a few days (in the weekend) the ice will be safe enough for skating.
Skating on natural ice already is going on in other parts of the Netherlands. Usually, waters in the centre of towns freeze over later, as water in towns is warmer than in the countryside.
Skate factories are very busy these days, as most shops have not created a stock of skates, because of the warmer climate.
The last time ice-skating was possible on the Keizersgracht, was in 1997.
Painting by Avercamp with ice skating scene