Wednesday 23 June 2021

As frost and snow looms, the Dutch draw up rules for Covid-proof skating

Skating on the Prinsengracht with the Westertoren in the distance. Photo:

The promise of a prolonged spell of frost and snow means skating on natural ice is once again on the agenda, and the regional safety boards have drawn up a number of rules for skating during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Yes, you can skate,’ safety board chief Hubert Bruls told NPO radio. ‘You can compare it with going out for a walk in the countryside or doing some form of sport. It’s all allowed.’

Many Dutch towns and villages, particularly in the north, have a local ice club where skaters gather to skate on a frozen field or on a car park which has been sprayed with water.

According to the safety board guidelines, these outdoor rinks may open and the under 17s can skate in groups. People aged 18 and over may skate alone or with one other person, provided they keep 1.50 metres distance.

However, competitions and races are not on the table, and changing rooms must remain shut. Kiosks where skaters can pick up a drink and something to eat – known as koek en zopie – can open for business.

Skating clubs are also being urged to appoint a ‘coronavirus coordinator’ who will have the power to close down the rink if it gets too busy.

Seven things you need to know about skating in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is set to be hit by snow and freezing conditions this weekend. According to some forecasts, at least 20 centimetres of snow will fall in places from Saturday and the frost will last until next Thursday at least.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.