Two skaters fell through too thin ice on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam on Thursday. One managed to get out of the water himself, the other had to be rescued. Bob Maas, the unofficial ice master of the Dutch capital, thinks that the ice on the canals will be thick enough to skate on safely over the weekend, Het Parool reports.
The weather is still icy cold in the Netherlands. Meteorological institute KNMI issued two code yellow warnings, one for slippery roads and one for ambient temperatures below -15 degrees Celsius.
The icy roads warning is in effect for all provinces except the northern ones. "Adjust your driving behavior", the KNMI warns motorists. Drive slowly and keep a safe following distance. "Follow weather reports and warnings."
A daredevil skater was spotted on the Keizergracht in Amsterdam on Thursday. Despite some Amsterdam canals being closed to boating traffic since Tuesday to promote ice forming, the ice on the canals is still not thick enough to skate on safely, Waternet warns.
Technicians of Dutch drinking water companies have their hands full today. The icy weather resulted in water pipes and water meters freezing in hundreds of places across the Netherlands, AD reports.
The phones at Vitens, the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands, are ringing non stop, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "By 11:15 this morning we already received 579 phone calls, considerably more than usual. The icy east wind in combination with the frost causes a lot of damage."
The icy weather currently in the Netherlands means that skating enthusiasts can enjoy the natural ice at numerous ice skating clubs throughout the country. One skating enthusiast used a drone to film a beautiful video of skaters enjoying the natural ice rink of skating club De Vennen in Noord-Brabant.
"We have five centimeters of ice", Jan van de Wiel of De Vennen said to Omroep Brabant. "It is beautiful for natural ice. The free nature. Enjoy the sun rising. The outside air and the wind. You have to overcome all these factors on natural ice."
Meteorological spring kicks off in the Netherlands on Thursday with a code yellow warning for extreme cold. Low temperatures combined with a strong wind create ambient temperatures below -15 degrees Celsius across the country, meteorological institute KNMI warns.
Motorists in the north of the country, especially on the Wadden islands, should also be careful of slippery roads caused by snow that hasn't melted away yet. "Adjust your driving behavior", the KNMI warns.
Transit company Arriva closed the toilets on its trains to prevent poop and urine freezing in the collection system in the extremely cold weather the Netherlands is currently experiencing. Stickers on the toilets inform passengers that they cannot be used, NOS reports.
Closing the toilets is a precaution, an Arriva spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "It is really extremely cold for our country. So we are preventing damage and the trains having to be taken out of service." Arriva expects this measure will be in effect until Saturday.
Achmea expect to pay out more than 100 million euros in claims for damages caused by the two storms that raged over the Netherlands in January, the insurer announced on Wednesday. This includes damages suffered by the agricultural sector, NU.nl reports.
Since Tuesday nights salt trucks covered over 31 thousand kilometers of roads throughout the Netherlands with around 2 million kilograms of salt. Ice breakers are also on standby, to help any ships that get into trouble on freezing water, Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat said.
Throughout the winter, the Rijkswaterstaat already sprinkled some 80 million kilograms of salt on the roads to combat slickness and iciness and thereby keep the roads accessible and safe. "We drove around the world about 33 times this winter", the department said on Twitter.
Emergency services pulled a skater out of the freezing water on Middelland in Hank on Wednesday morning after he fell through the thin ice. The 75-year-old man from Sleeuwijk in Noord-Brabant was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, where he later passed away, police said in a statement.
The man was skating on Gat van Loopgauw, on the edge of nature reserve De Biesbosch, when the accident took place. Passersby saw him in the water and called the emergency services just after 10:30 a.m.
Motorists throughout the Netherlands are warned to be careful of icy roads caused by light snowfall on Wednesday morning. And dress warmly, because this morning will be very cold. Meteorological institute KNMI issued code yellow warnings for all provinces.
"Adjust your driving behavior", the KNMI warns motorists. Drive slowly and keep a safe following distance.
This year's first ice skating marathon on natural ice will be held in Haaksbergen on Wednesday evening. Willem Hut of the skaters union KNSB approved the ice rink in the Overijssel town on Tuesday, Het Parool reports.
The ice rink of skating club IJSCH from Haaksbergen has the required thickness of at least 3 centimeters in all places. The Haaksbergen club competes almost every winter in the battle to host the fist marathon on natural ice. This is the sixth time Haaksbergen wins since 2000.
Just two days before the start of meteorological spring, temperatures in the Netherlands dropped to below -10 degrees for the first time this winter. A minimum of -10.1 was measured in Eindhoven overnight, Weeronline and Weerplaza report.
Temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius are considered severe frost. Leeuwarden and Enschede also came close to the severe frost line, with overnight temperatures of -9.5 and -9.6 respectively, according to Weerplaza.
Amsterdam water authority Waternet started closing canals to boating traffic on Tuesday, to give the thin layer of ice on the canals opportunity to grow thick enough that skaters can get out onto the canals.
Waternet is also closing locks and switching off pumping station, so that the water flows more slowly and ice can form more easily.
Utrecht scores the best of all Dutch cities when it comes to sustainability, according to a study by Natuur & Milieu published on Tuesday. Amsterdam came in a close second, followed by Alkmaar.
Tuesday will be another icy cold day in the Netherlands, according to Weeronline. Maximum temperatures will hover around freezing, but a strong wind will make it feel much colder, the weather service warns.
With icy weather in the Netherlands this week, the Dutch fire department issued a statement warning skating enthusiasts to be extra careful when deciding whether or not to take on the natural ice.
There is not yet enough ice in the Amsterdam canals to close them to boating traffic, Waternet announced on Monday. The canal manager will check again on Tuesday whether measures can be taken to make sure that skaters can skate on the canals.
Waternet also checked every day over the weekend whether there was enough ice on the canals. On Sunday a spokesperson told the Telegraaf that "there is already ice here and there".
Morning rush hour was particularly chaotic in Limburg on Monday, with snow causing numerous traffic problems. A 2 centimeter layer of snow caused traffic jams on the highways and inland roads in the province south of Sittard, according to traffic services ANWB and VID, NU.nl reports.
The start of an icy week in the Netherlands begins with some periods of sunshine and light snow in some areas on Monday, according to Weeronline. Maximum temperatures will range between 1 degree in the southwest, and -1 in the northeast. Wednesday and Thursday will be the coldest days this week, with ambient temperatures around -10 degrees expected, the weather services reports.
Dozens of flights to and from the Canary Islands had to land at other airports on Sunday due to severe storms on the islands. Heavy rains an winds over 100 kilometers per hour made it impossible for flights to land on or take off from the islands during the afternoon. Many hundreds of Dutch holiday makers were affected, AD reports.
Flightradar24 shows that many flights had to move to Morocco and Faro in Portugal. These detours affected hundreds of Dutch tourists using airlines TUI and Transavia, according to the newspaper.
High-voltage grid operator Tennet wants to invest €28 billion over the next ten years in order to make it possible to take on more electricity from renewable sources. Tennet is owned one hundred percent by the Dutch State, and since 2010 it also manages a part of the German high-voltage grid.
About 450,000 Dutch are expected to take to the roadways just to enjoy the winter sports offerings in neighboring countries, and some sun. Together with returning holidaymakers, these departures will cause heavy traffic on the main highways of the Netherlands, Dutch travellers association ANWB said on Friday.
Some of the hundreds of thousands of residents will depart on Friday, and the rest over the weekend. These are primarily people based in the north or central part of the country, with those living in the southern Netherlands returning home.
With freezing temperatures hitting the Netherlands in the coming days, Amsterdam skating enthusiasts are hopeful that they may have a chance to get out onto the canals again. The last time the canals froze enough for skating, was in 2012, Het Parool reports.