Why the Netherlands will never have an ‘Elfstedentocht’ (Eleven Cities Tour) again

An Elfstedentocht in Friesland, the Netherlands is what the Dutch individuals need greater than profitable a World Cup in soccer or limitless free cheese.

Nevertheless, the probabilities of an precise Elfstedentocht (‘Eleven Cities Tour’) taking place once more are getting smaller every yr.

In the event you’re studying this and considering “properly the canals are freezing over now, so why can’t there be an Elfstedentocht?” — properly, we’ve obtained 4 nice causes for you.

What’s the Elfstedentocht? 

First issues first, what is that this Elfstedentocht all of the Dutch are speaking about — and why do they act like prefer it’s some golden ring that may give energy eternally? 

The Elfstedentocht is an ice-skating tour that follows a closed or round route alongside frozen canals, rivers and lakes visiting the eleven historic Frisian cities of Leeuwarden, Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker and Dokkum.

The just about 200-kilometre lengthy tour is held provided that the ice is, and stays, at the very least 15 centimetres thick alongside all the course. That’s as a result of about 15,000 skaters will take the route (and a gazillion individuals will watch).

The final excursions have been held in 1985, 1986 and 1997. All taking part skaters should be members of the Affiliation of the Eleven Frisian Cities, so in the event you’re questioning in the event you can ever take part then the reply is a flat-out no.

Right here’s the one I really skilled in my life (safely and warmly from behind the TV)

So why will the Netherlands by no means have an Elfstedentocht once more?

International warming and temperature extremes

As you may need seen the previous years, temperature extremes are in every single place, you’ll be able to’t have missed it (until you’re Donald Trump). The factor is, all of the extremes within the Netherlands have been extreme temperature data — not chilly ones. The chart above will instantly kill the final hope Dutch individuals had for one more Elfstedentocht.

Oof. Not a lot likelihood of the Elfstedentocht taking place, it will appear. Picture: datagraver/KNMI

As you’ll be able to see, loads of warmth data — nearly no chilly data. So regardless of the purpose for world warming and such is, it doesn’t change the apparent pattern that the Netherlands is warming up on the whole.

However hey, science would possibly save the Elfstedentocht proper? Have a look at these new methods Dutchies are utilizing to enhance the probabilities of an Elfstedentocht taking place once more.

Coronavirus made crowds unattainable

However hey! It’s 2021, and so far as we will see there may be ice on the canals. Why can’t now we have an Elfstedentocht this yr?

The reply, like for all the things else that brings us pleasure, is that “we will’t do it due to coronavirus.” Yep, it hurts. Earlier than the primary snowflake even drifted within the air The Royal Affiliation of the 11 Frisian Cities got here collectively and stated that they gained’t organise the occasion beneath the present coronavirus measures.

That’s only one thing more that the pesky pandemic has managed to damage for us. However what if it snows subsequent yr? Certainly we will have an Elfstedentocht then? Yeah, nah. Right here’s why:

The Elfstedentocht media circus will probably be too massive for an Eleven Cities Tour to occur

Only for a second have a look at these photographs from 1997 once more. Fairly a taking place again then, and even then we thought that it was a whole media frenzy. And holy shit, greater than 1.5 million individuals have been current in Friesland and 2000 (worldwide) reporters. And that was in 1997 when the web was nonetheless this:

Are you able to think about the record-breaking media circus that might come about with an Elfstedentocht these days? Would possibly even break some US inauguration data! Friesland can’t even deal with three million individuals usually, not to mention three million on ice.

The Dutch are method too ‘safety-first’ to permit such a mega-event because the Elfstedentocht to occur

So mega crowds and skinny ice. A few of you Russian or Mexican readers would possibly simply say ‘Let’s get it on’ (or as they are saying in Frisian: ‘iet gat oan‘ or higher but and extra realistically: it giet nea mear oan).

So in the event you’re considering that the Dutch will simply leap for any excuse to have one other Elfstedentocht than you’re not considering it via. No mayor or minister will take a chance with so many individuals and such skinny ice. Hell, we actually have a saying in Dutch that goes like that: niet over één nacht ijs gaan, which suggests “don’t go over one evening of ice” which means that you just don’t wish to take any silly dangers.


So there you might have it, I like to be fallacious about by no means having an Elfstedentocht once more, and would be the first one to face there in Heeg boozing it up and certain the temperatures would possibly plummet to under zero for 3 weeks as soon as sooner or later — however realistically talking, the Elfstedentocht in Friesland won’t ever occur once more.

Have you ever ever been to an Elfstedentocht? What was it like? Tell us within the feedback under.
Editor’s be aware: This text was initially printed in February 2018 however was up to date in February 2021 to your studying pleasure. 
Characteristic Picture: Rob Bogaerts/Wikimedia Commons/Public Area

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