The Dutch embassy in the United States invited American TV host Katie Couric to visit the Netherlands so that she can see "all the innovative ways the Dutch get around". This follows Couric saying that the Dutch are good at speed skating because they skate to work.
Dutch skaters won three medals within 30 minutes at the Winter Olympics in South Korea on Tuesday. Yara van Kerkhof won silver in the women's 500 meters. And Kjeld Nuis and Patrick Roest won gold and silver in the men's 1,500 meters, NOS reports.
Dutch skaters Ireen Wüst and Marrit Leenstra filled two of the three podium spots for the 1,500 meters at the Winter Olympics in Gangneung on Monday. Wüst won gold with a time of 1:54:35, two tenths of a second faster than favorite Miho Takagi from Japan. Leenstra took bronze, ending 0.92 seconds behind Wüst, NOS reports.
Fourth place also went to a Dutch skater - Lotte van Beek just missed the podium, ending just one hundredth of a second behind Leenstra.
The coldest night of this winter so far is about to hit the Netherlands. Overnight temperatures will drop to between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius, Weeronline expects. The coming days will also have below zero minimums, and maximum temperatures hovering around freezing.
The winter temperatures will last until the weekend, after which it will warm up somewhat, according to meteorological institute KNMI. "Although we certainly can not say that the winter is then over", a spokesperson for the institute said to NU.nl.
The Netherlands has an icy week ahead of it with night time temperatures expected to drop below freezing every night, and maximum temperatures climbing no higher than 3 or 4 degrees Celsius, Weeronline predicts.
Monday starts out mostly cloudy, with morning temperatures hovering around freezing point. The cloud fields will gradually dissipate through the course of the day. Maximum temperatures will range between 1 and 3 degrees.
The coming days will be very cold in the Netherlands with night time temperatures dropping to -5 degrees Celsius, giving good hope to skating enthusiasts. "It depends on several factors, but skating is certainly not inconceivable", Diana Woei, weather-woman at Weerplaza, said to newspaper AD.
Dutch speed skater Elma de Vries just missed winning the Alternative Eleven Cities tour by tripping on a hole in the ice just before the finish line.
"I was perfectly placed and clearly faster. Then suddenly there's this hole that I hit and I fall flat forward", the disappointed skater said to NOS after the race. She still thought she might make it. "I see the arc coming at me and thought I'm sliding far enough, but it was ten meters short and the others sped right past me."
Those who still want to spend some time skating on natural ice in the Netherlands better make a plan to do so in the coming days. According to meteorologist Williams Huizinga of Buienraar, skating weather will come to an end around the end of the week, RTL Nieuws reports.
Despite warnings about dangerous skating conditions and thin ice, many Dutch took to the frozen lakes and canals across the Netherlands over the past day. Weerplaza warns that natural ice can be very treacherous, and the situation in the center of the Netherlands and Utrecht region is downright dangerous. If you have to skate on natural ice in these regions, be very careful.
It also seems that the skating weather is coming to a slow end for the time being. The coming nights will drop below freezing, but after Friday the weather will turn milder, according to RTL.
Last night temperatures dropped to below -10 degrees Celsius in multiple places in the Netherlands last night. At the air base in Twente the minimum temperature dropped to a whopping -10.8 degrees, making last night the coldest night of this winter season so far, according to Weerplaza.
The previous coldest night of the season was on January 6th, when the minimum temperature dropped to -10.2 degrees, also in Twente.
A 35-year-old skater in Amsterdam had to be rescued by emergency services after he fall trough the ice on Plesmalaan in Nieuw West. The man was taken to the hospital, hypothermic but conscious and lucid, Het Parool reports.
Two passersby noticed the man around 9:00 p.m. and called the emergency services. The man was only a few meters from the edge and rescuers could get him to the side quickly.
Lisa van der Geest and Simon Schouten won the season's first skating marathon on natural ice in Noordlaren, Groningen on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.
The women started at 10:00 a.m. with 80 laps on the 333 meter track. After some skirmishes in the first half hour, a strong leading group of eight skaters separated themselves. 23-year-old Van der Geest won. After 80 laps she was the leader of a group of eight who were a lap ahead of the rest of the racers. Emma Engbers got second place, and Irene Schouten - Simon Schouten's sister - took third place.
Dropping temperatures, increasing icy and slippery roads and a "very thick layer of snow", are expected for the Netherlands for the rest of this week and next week, according to MeteoGroup weatherman Reinout van den Born, Omroep Brabant reports.
From Thursday the upper air will be very cold, leading to sleet and possibly snow. This week the snow will still partially melt, but by next week the Netherlands may be covered in a thick layer.
The Roosendaal fire department made skaters' night on Friday by rushing water to the Iceworld Roosendaal ice rink on Markt. Employees were unable to spray the rink with water themselves, because the pipes were frozen, Weekblad De Bode reports.
Instead of letting their skaters down, the Iceworld employees called the fire department for help. Firefighters rushed over, sprayed the ice rink with water and saved the skaters' pleasant skating evening.
Some of the firefighting water ended up on the road. The road was sprinkled with salt to prevent it turning slippery.
About 50 Dutch skating enthusiast enjoyed skating on natural ice outdoors iin De Lier on Tuesday morning. Skate club Hard gaat-ie produced a thin layer of ice using a combination of their sprinkling system and the freezing cold, NU.nl reports.
Thanks to the light frost of the last few nights, skaters in Rijperkerk in Friesland could skate on natural ice on Friday morning for the first time this season. The first fanatics braved the ice around 08:30 this morning.
Sven Kramer has shown this weekend that he is in a top shape. During the Dutch championships he not only won the 5 km but also impressed friend and enemy with his victory on the 10 km.
The 10 km race was between Kramer and last years champion Jorrit Bergsma. Although in March, Bergsma beat Kramer at the 10 km, at this race he had to be happy with silver. Kramer accelerated in the last four rounds with such a speed that he achieved a new track record (12.46.96) in Thialf. The old track record was from 2007 (12.49.88), also for Kramer.
On Friday the Dutch national championships ice skating will start. Multi gold medal winners Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst are ready for the job.
On Friday the men will start with the 5 km and the 500 m races. For the 5 km race Kramer will race against Jan Blokhuijsen. Blokhuijsen was last years' runner-up, so the 9th race will be a very interesting one.
On the first day of the Dutch championships the women only take the 1500m. Ireen Wüst will ride against Laurine van Riessen in the 13th match.
Four major regions of the skating association KNSB have started lobbying against Icedôme in Almere. This was reported by Omroep Flevoland. They want the KNSB to choose for a combination of the proposals for a new race and training location of Heerenveen and Zoetermeer.
The regions of Zuid Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Friesland want the games to be held in Heerenveen and the training should be done in Zoetermeer. This would put Icedôme out of the picture of the provisional award of the KSNB, which will make the choice this week.
The province of Friesland has reserved 50 million euro for the renovation of the Thialf in Heerenveen. The provincial council of Friesland has made this decision on Wednesday afternoon.
The renovation of the Thialf is now a fact, regardless of the choice that the ice skating association, KNSB, will make in the battle for the new sports venue for ice skating in the Netherlands. If Thialf is not going to be designated as the top location than it 'complicates the operation, but it can still be done’, said a spokesman for the province.