All over the Netherlands, you find ice skating rinks. Where to find the best rinks? Skating is the Dutch national sport. In this blog, I will tell you all you need to know about the Dutch ice skating season. Of course, I will show you where the best ice skating rinks are. Explain which types of ice skates there are available. And tell you where you can buy or rent ice skates. And last but not least I will talk about safety on the skating rinks. Of course, I will devote a few words to the history of ice skating in the Netherlands.
|Skating season||Protective equipment||Best things to do on the ice rink|
|Ice rinks in the Netherlands||Ice Amsterdam||Rent or buy skates|
Skating on the best artificial ice rinks in the Netherlands
Dutch are generally passionate ice skaters. Just like cycling, you learn to ice skate at a young age. You could say the Dutch are born on ice skates. Actually, this applies to those growing up in the city as well as to those who grow up in the countryside. When it freezes and there is ice, everyone is eager to get out on the ice as quickly as possible. Ice skates are taken from the attic, and irons are sharpened, greased, and polished. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always freeze in winter in the Netherlands. A National Disaster. To tackle this unfortunate circumstance, there are many artificial ice rinks throughout the country.
Get to the best Ice Rinks when the skating season starts in the Netherlands
At the end of September, when autumn has just started and the leaves are falling from the trees, the desire to ice skate is already starting to heat up in many Dutch families. Fortunately, at the beginning of October, all ice rinks in the Netherlands open their doors. From then on and we can ice skate again until the end of March. Ice skating in Holland is eminent winter fun. Great fun for all ages. And, an ice rink is the best place for your first skating experience. On some ice rinks, you can join in on an ice skating disco, as well.
Best things to do on an ice rink
An ice rink usually has a covered indoor rink and an uncovered outdoor rink. Many associations are active on an ice rink. They offer ice lovers an ample choice of skating activities, from long track to short track and from ice hockey to figure skating and curling.
On the outdoor ice rink, there is always a cozy catering facility. In this so-called “Koek en Zopie” you can relax and stretch your back with hot chocolate, a mulled wine or split pea soup when you take a break.
Rising energy costs are a major problem
Rising energy costs are a major problem for all sports facilities, but for artificial ice rinks, the cost increase determines the chance of survival. The energy costs for ice rinks normally represent 15 to 20 percent of the operation, but this can rise up to 50 percent after the expiry of a fixed energy contract. Ice rink operators cannot always accommodate that. In 2023 all Dutch artificial ice rinks have to renew their energy contract. With the current price increases for electricity, they too will have to deal with extreme costs unavoidably to be covered by more expensive tickets or state support.
Avoid terrible accidents while skating
If you are going to skate, wear gloves and a hat or skate helmet for protection. It is very important to protect your hands while skating. Not only because of the cold but also because other skaters can skate over your hands when you fall. if this might happen by wearing gloves you avoid losing a finger or arterial bleeding, so gloves are mandatory on most ice rinks. Also, wear a hat or skate helmet to avoid brain damage.
Skating teams and free-time skating
On an artificial ice rink, sporting, training, and practice are done fanatically at fixed times by various schools, associations, and skating teams. In addition, there is ample time on an artificial ice rink for novice skaters and time to skate for fun. An artificial ice rink is also a place where you can enjoy skating with friends. When associations skate, the ice rink is usually closed for non-members. It is therefore wise to check the websites to find out if an artificial ice rink is open for free time skating and buy a ticket online.
Competition and other ice events
Ice rinks are closed for recreational skating during competitions and events in general. Usually, you can buy a ticket to visit a match, competition, or ice event. Examples of Competitions are a.o. the Dutch open Short Track, the Marathon Cup, NK Allround, NK Marathon, EK Allround, EK Marathon, Ice Hockey Matches, and Figure skating competitions.
It’s really nice to be present at a skating event. The skating public is very enthusiastic and fully empathizes with the skaters and shows this off by cheering and singing to the skaters. You have to experience this once.
Ice rinks in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, there are 7 indoor ice rinks, 10 semi-covered rinks, 3 outdoor artificial ice rinks, and 21 natural ice rinks. Most Ice rink websites are in Dutch, so if you look for information about opening hours, look at “openingstijden”.
|Artificial Ice Rink||Opens||Address|
|Jaap Eden IJsbaan||8 October 2022||Radioweg 64, Amsterdam|
|IJsbaan Haarlem||1 October 2022||IJsbaanlaan 2, Haarlem|
|Thialf Heerenveen||18 September 2022||Pim Mulierlaan 1, Heereveen|
|Triavium||31 October 2022||Van Rosenburgweg 2, Nijmegen|
|Kunstijsbaan De Meent||8 October 2022||Terborchlaan 301, Alkmaar|
|Kardinge||1 October 2022||Kardingerplein 1, Groningen|
|De Scheg||8 October 2022||Piet van Donkplein 1, Deventer|
|Sportboulevard Dordrecht||1 October 2022||Fanny Blankers-Koenweg 10, Dordrecht|
|De Vechtsebanen Utrecht||1 October 2022||Mississippidreef 151, Utrecht|
|De Westfries||27 September||Westfriese Parkweg 5, 1625 MA Hoorn|
Ice Amsterdam | Museumplein Amsterdam
Some say the ice rink on the Museumplein in Amsterdam is the nicest ice rink in the Netherlands, but it is a minimal track. Anyway, your kids can skate here from November until the beginning of February. If you don’t have skates you can rent them right there. But all things considered, it’s great fun for beginners and advanced skaters to make some rounds on this more than special location in the center: Ice Amsterdam, Museumplein Amsterdam. But for the real skating experience in Amsterdam, you go to the: Jaap Eden Rink
Rent or buy skates
At every ice rink in the Netherlands, you can rent tour skates, figure skates, or hockey skates. So if you come to an artificial ice rink for the first time to skate a few rounds, rent your skates there, all sizes are available. Often there are racks as well, helping you to keep your balance while making your first skating strokes. If you really like ice skating you better buy your own skates, say in the shop next to the artificial ice rink. Usually, specialized personnel can give professional advice about the best skates to buy.
Skating type’s available on Ice Rinks
Figure skates, hockey skates and tour skates (for example “Noren”) are the most common skates used and rented out on Dutch Ice Rinks. Check this list:
- Kunstrijschaats | Figure skate
- Hockeyschaatsen | Hockey skate
- Noren | Norwegians
- Klapschaats | clap skate
- Duoschaats | Duo skate
- Friese doorloper | Free walker
- Glijijzertjes (kinderschaats) | slides ( Children’s skates)
- Heulenaar |
- Fen runners
Well-known Dutch men skating champions are:
1966 | 1e place Ard Schenk, 2e place Kees Verkerk | Deventer | European Skating Championship
2004/2020 | Sven Kramer | Long track skater | 3 times Olympic champion on the 5000 meters, single-time Olympic champion in the team pursuit, 9 times world all-around champion, and 10 times European all-around champion.
Total overview Dutch champions all-round skating men
Well-known Dutch female skating champions are:
1970 | Atje Keulen – Deelstra |won 4 times world champion all-round and 3 times European champion, won 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the 1972 Olympics, and was 5 times national champion in the speed skating marathon and 3 times in the short track. In total, Atje won sixty-one skating marathons.
2004 | 2020 | Ireen Wüst | won 6 times gold, 5 times silver, and 2 times bronze Olympic medals. Ireen Wüst is the most successful Dutch female skater ever at the Olympic Games. She became the first speed skater to win 13 Olympic medals. She is also a 7 times world all-around champion and a 15 times world champion by distance.
Total overview Dutch champions all-round skating female
Ice mopping machine
Maintenance of the ice on the skating rink is very important. Skating on the ice rink causes damage to the ice floor such as holes, gullies, and crevices and the floor becomes stiff, dirty, and dull. An ice mopping machine is regularly used to repair the ice floor. Sports such as ice hockey, long-track speed skating, and figure skating require an excellent ice floor. An ice-mopping machine first scrapes a layer of ice from the track and then sprays a thin layer of warm water on it. This flows directly into all irregularities and provides a mirror-smooth and clean ice rink. The ice machine is always used before competitions and during recreational skating as well. An average mopping takes about 15 minutes.
Humans have been moving on the ice since prehistoric times, according to many finds which can be admired in museums. To cross ice expanses, sharpened animal bones were used as skates. Before the word skating came into use in the Netherlands, people were already skating. In the Netherlands, the skate developed from a simple bone to a construction with an iron blade on which one can move quickly.
The first skating competitions were held in 1800. In 1882 the Royal Dutch Skaters’ Association (KNSB) was founded. The ice competitions that are held under the KNSB are long and short-track skating, speed skating, figure skating, marathon skating, clean riding, skating, and touring skating.
In the 19th century, there were three types of skates: the Dutch curl skate, the South Holland track skate, and the Frisian skate. The first two skates were used for spinning, the latter for speed skating. Because the Frisian skate had a sharp point, dangerous situations arose, after which a curl was added to the front of the iron. The irons became longer and longer, which gave more stability and therefore a longer stroke. The skate called “the Friese doorloper” became extremely popular. “Friese doorloper” means freely translated “The Frisian Ice walker”. Nowadays you find this kind of ice skate often at flea markets.