The famous outdoor skating event known as Elfstedentocht traditionally takes place along the frozen rivers and canals of 11 Frisian towns in the wintertime. But it seems this winter, the games are cancelled — again.
For years, this beloved event has been halted due to a lack of ice. But surprise surprise, this year corona has found a way to cancel it once again. The Royal Association of the 11 Frisian Cities have announced that they will not organise the event this winter under the current corona measures, reports NU.
Social distancing impossible
The association explains that especially at the start of the race, it will be impossible to keep the 1.5m rule between competitors. On top of that, the event would draw crowds to the riversides and canals, which is the last thing the organisation wants to encourage during a pandemic. Such behaviour would risk putting unnecessary pressure on the hospitals, which the healthcare system cannot afford right now.
There is still a while before the skating event would normally take place, and if the 1.5m rule were to be dropped it would theoretically still be possible. During the press conference on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that cabinet may be able to consider relaxing measures around mid-December. But there is no guarantee that this will happen, and realistically the 1.5m rule is likely to be one of the last measures to go. For these reasons, it is almost certain that the Elfstedentocht will not take place this winter.
The last Elfstedentocht
The last time the Elfstedentocht took place was in 1997 and unfortunately, scientists predict it will become increasingly difficult to host the event as global warming is preventing the rivers and canals from adequately freezing over. It’s possible that the 1997 Elfstedentocht will indeed be the last one.
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Feature Image: Rob Bogaerts/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain