Dutch News 02-02-2012
The first organised skating route over natural ice will be set up on the Blokzijler lake in Overijssel province on Sunday, local newspaper Stentor said on Thursday.
The local skating club says the ice is now eight to 10 cm thick and three more nights of heavy frost will increase the thickness to up to 15 cm. 'There are some weak bits caused by the wind but we can skate round them,' a spokesman said.
Many ice clubs have already opened their outdoor rinks but the wind has meant many stretches of open water are still too unreliable for safe skating.
In Amsterdam, the city council has banned pleasure boats from using many city centre canals in the hope they too will freeze over for skating.
The big freeze is set to continue for the next six days at least, and there is a 50% chance of it continuing for the next 10, according to the KNMI weather bureau.
But the snow expected on Friday makes it unlikely the ice will thicken enough for an Elfstedentocht - the spectacular 200 km race between the 11 cities of Friesland. The event was last held in 1997.