It's winter in the Netherlands and that means skating! Permanent rinks, seasonal pop-ups and races on ice – there's plenty to enjoy. Here is a compilation of our Mamas' favourite spots for taking part in this quintessentially Dutch pastime. So get your skates on and join in!
Ice Skating: A National Passion
The Netherlands, who bagged an impressive 24 medals for skating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, are unsurprisingly enthusiastic about the advent of winter and the opportunity to take to the ice.
If the ice on the Keizersgracht gets to 15cm thick, the Keizersrace takes place, a sprint on ice between the Leidsestraat and the Spiegelgracht. The last time this happened was in 2012 and crowds of Amsterdammers braved the harsh weather to cheer the skaters on.
Outside of Amsterdam, there is the famous Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), an ice skating marathon and source of national pride. If the ice is thick enough, this event is held in Friesland where the participants skate along a natural ice course of 200 kilometres, covering 11 towns.
Where to Skate in Amsterdam
Back here in the capital, the best-known winter skating attraction is ICE*Amsterdam, a pop-up rink in Amsterdam's Museumplein, which offers a unique skating experience. You can skate and watch others having fun in the wonderful atmosphere. Enjoy Dutch and other international dishes in the Brasserie, close to the rink. You can book a party here and various ice games are available, such as curling, sledge slaloms and human ice bowling. You can also play ice hockey with your family and friends. Teams are formed by registering a minimum of 12 players and you need to be over 8 years old to participate. Or what about ice sculpting? You can try something creative with ice and learn some amazing tricks in the workshops. You need to be a group of at least 10 people. Alternatively, sign your kids up for the youth skating courses with Duosport.
Another unusal skating experience, last open in 2014, is De Coolste Baan van Nederland in the historic Olympic Stadium. This temporary rink will be open to the public from 18 January to 28 February 2018 only, but you can return as a spectator between 9 and 11 March when it will host the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships.
The Jaap Eden Ice Skating Rink, in the south-east of the city, is the largest skating centre in Amsterdam with an outdoor 400-meter rink, a beginner's corner and an indoor rink. You have lockers, showers and restaurants inside. It is also home to the Amstel Tijgers hockey team.
The Gelderlandplein, in the south of Amsterdam, has a small family-friendly pop-up rink in the Gelderland shopping centre. There are chairs and penguins for small children to push and, because it's indoors, it's nice and warm. You can buy coffee at the nearby Coffee Company. The rink is open from early November to the end of January.
The Wintervillage Stadshart Amstelveen, just south of the capital, has an ice rink from late November to late December. Skating lessons and birthday party packages are available. The winter village is also home to a Christmas market and a restaurant offering winter favourites like soup, stamppot and fondue, as well as a handy kids' menu.
Once you are done skating, treat yourself with a hot cup of cocoa, some poffertjes and a thick pea soup. These typical Dutch treats are served close to the rinks and perfectly compliment the fun you had on ice!
This list has been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group and has been updated for 2017.
Moumita Bose is a freelance content writer and mother of a three-year-old child.
photo credit: Flickr