What about doing winter sports in a country with no mountains?

The trees are getting bare, the clock has just been set one hour back, we come home in the dark, it’s clear; winter is coming. Even though the last days we’ve been able to enjoy some sunny “spring-like” days, we can’t deny the days getting shorter and shorter. The winter vibes coming out of the shops make you feel like preparing for the cold, icy days, and make you want to cuddle up in those big winter sweaters. But wintertime doesn’t only mean drinking hot tea with a blanket in front of the fireplace, it also means action! Winter sports!

But wait.. Holland is flat.. Can you even do winter sports here?

Yes, Holland is flat; if you search well you might maybe find one tiny mountain (some of you might only call it a hill) in the complete south of the country, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t come up with some ingenious solutions to enjoy winter wonderland to the fullest.

Ice skating

First of all, the Dutch love ice skating. We have some big indoor and outdoor ice skating halls, but in winter, many Dutch cities also offer great temporary ice-skating rinks on the big city squares (also on de Neude in Utrecht!). On these small rinks, accompanied with music and surrounded by small terraces where people enjoy all the typical hot Dutch treats, you can really feel the coziness of the Dutch “gezelligheid”. And best of all, if the winter gets cold enough, you can skate through all  cities on the canals. We even have a big competition in the North of the country, called the “Elfstedentocht” (the eleven cities race), where people can compete against each other in a race past eleven cities on natural ice. This is a 200 km race track through the Netherlands and therefore also called “the tour of the tours”, but it can only take place if it gets cold enough, so the ice gets thick enough for ice skating. So let’s cross our fingers for this year!


Skiing/ snowboarding

Did you know that without mountains you can still ski and snowboard in the Netherlands?! The Netherlands has two SnowWorld locations; one in Landgraaf and one in Zoetermeer. In Landgraaf, a municipality in the south of Holland, you can find the largest indoor ski slope in the world! It also has the longest slope of the Netherlands and it offers the only indoor FIS Rennstrecke in the world, which means that SnowWorld Landgraaf is the only indoor ski slope in the world that can organize FIS world cup races. SnowWorld Zoetermeer competes with Landgraaf, with the steepest slope of the Netherlands (20% steepness!). And for the ones that prefer après-ski over the real skiing, SnowWorld has après-ski as well! Would you rather stay outside, then there are also several options of artificial pistes with brush slopes.

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Walking over water

To bring something original to your winter sport experiences, in the North of our country you can do “Winterwadlopen”. What does that mean? In the North of the Netherlands we have the sea “Waddenzee”, surrounded by the little Wadden islands. Wadlopen means walking through the sea to the islands. In summer you can do this when it’s low tide, but in winter it gets even better when you can just walk over the frozen sea!  

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Sledding

Last but definitely not least, we can’t forget the best and easiest way to enjoy winter. Wait for the snow, buy a cheap sleigh (or use whatever you can use to slide on), and sled your way through the city! Don’t forget to surprise the pedestrians passing by with some cheeky snowballs.. 😉

By Melodie Zöllner

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