Dutch canals freeze for the first time in twelve years

Canal ice skating is part of the Dutch national identity, but according to the International Herald Tribune, climate change and pollution have turned Holland’s annual canal-freeze into a rarity. Holland’s canals have frozen for the first time in twelve years this month, thrilling the citizens of the land of Hans Brinker:


Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the freezing temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs.

Train engineers were ordered to go slowly to avoid hitting skaters who clambered across railway tracks to get from one frozen canal to another. Even the minister of defense, an avid skater, fell and broke his wrist. His ministry announced that the national defense remained in safe hands, even if one of them was in a cast.

Do we have any readers here who have found themselves out on the ice in this winter? I’ve heard that canal skating is popular in Ottawa, Ontario. Is anyone enjoying any other skating hot-spots?