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Skating for 200 kilometers

Updated on February 10, 2012

First of al

I'm a citizen of Holland and my first language is NOT English. So when my English is bad or the grammer is just not good! Tell me!

The Hype

Last week everybody in Holland was talking and thinking about it. Watching the news, hoping the cold would stay, that every stream, lake, river would froze!

Maybe you don't know what I'm talking or writing about, well it's named;

The Elfstedentocht ~ a skating journey of 200km in Friesland- Holland~

The skating tour is driven on natural ice only and only possible if the ice is thick enough.

Unfortenally is the ice not thick enough, so this year there will be no Elfstedentocht. Well, not yet we never know what the wetter brings us.

How it began

In Friesland there where some sporty people who skated in one day along all cities of Friesland. There succes where told to everyone and generation on generation!

In the winter of 1890-189 among the hundreds of men and woman who skated on there own initiative, there also was a man named Willem Mulier. He came with the idea to make it a organised event. In 1909 the first Elfstedentocht was riden. They wanted to leave it with that. But mr. M.E. Hepkema, a lawyer in Friesland, considered that more people would like this kind of sport. So in january 1909 he founded the association 'De Friesche Elf Steden'.
The purpose was to promote the ice sport in Friesland and organizing a Elfstedentocht every winter.

But like I said at the beginning it is all up to the weather.

Since 1909 the Elfstedentocht has taken place 15 times.

In 1909 there were 23 people who entered the Elfstedentocht, nowadays it's 16.000 people! So can see its a big event now.

Elfsteden Cross

When you skate the Elfstedentocht you get a stamp in every town, so at the off the day you must have 11 stamps on your form.

If that is the case you get a gusset of the Elfstedentocht.

The cross is a medal the shape of the Maltese cross, in the centre it has a circular shape.

The ice

Like I said it all takes place on natural ice.

The ice has to be 15 centimetre thick!
It has to be so thick because 16.000 people have to be abble to skate on it without the fear of falling through the ice.

Every town in Friesland has it's own Ice-master. They check at the tickness of the ice and make sure that it's ok. They also clean the ice when there is snow. If there is snow on the ice, the ice can't freeze good enough.

The Time

When it started in 1909 it took them 13 hours do make the journey, in 1997 when the last one was driven the winner had a time of 6:49 hours!

The Competition for women

The first decades it was not possible for women to join the Elfstedentocht. They made it possible in 1985, the women were exited. At the next Elfstedentocht that has to come, the woman will have an own starting time and it will be differant than from the man.


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    • Wauzzy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Yes, when I was looking for the time difference, from then and now, I was shocked :)

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Hi Wauzzy, my mother is Dutch and I have heard of the Elfstedentocht many times, but had never looked into it deeper. You have informed me of some pretty Interesting fun facts about it with your hub. The time difference and popularity of the journey between now and then is amazing!


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