Dutch ice rinks cost millions of euros to keep open, councils pick up the bills

Haarlem ice rinkThe Netherlands’ artificial ice rinks are only kept open because of millions of euros of local government funding, broadcaster Nos said on Monday.

‘Running an ice rink costs a lot of money,’ Marlin de Swart, from Breda’s rink said. It is, she said, practically impossible to make an ice rink profitable.

Ice rinks cost around €6 to visit but to cover the costs, this should be €10 to €15, De Swart says. But that would have an impact on visitor numbers.

The Netherlands has 16 outdoor artificial ice rinks with a 400 metre track.

Research by the Mulier Institute in 2013 showed that even rinks without government subsidies get millions of euros in help for new buildings. For example, the €13.75m tab for the new Twente rink came almost entirely from the public purse, Nos said.

The biggest cost facing rinks is energy – particularly in warm weather. The official skating season begins with the October half term holidays with temperatures this year in the 20s.

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