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Amsterdam prepares canals for ice skating fun


January 18th, 2013 | Last updated: March 25th, 2013


DutchAmsterdam.nl — It’s freezing in the Netherlands, and the weather folks say it will continue to freeze for a while.

Ice skating on Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam

Ice skating on Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, February 2012

Therefore the city of Amsterdam has banned boats from using a number of canals in the hope that they will freeze over, turning the historic water ways into a giant ice skating rink.

In a ritual repeated once or twice every winter when an extended period of below-freezing temperatures is forecast, Waternet has issued the ban for sections of a number of canals.

Waternet is the municipal organization responsible for drinking water, waste water, surface water and safety behind the dykes.

Update: January 21, 2013: Well, the weather folks say that while it will still be quite cold this week, a thaw will set in by the weekend. That means ice skating the canals of Amsterdam will not yet be possible.

Update: January 25, 2013: A thaw has been forecast, so for now there’s no ice skating fun yet — at least not on the canals.

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Until further notice, it is forbidden for boats to use the following canals:


View Amsterdam prepares canals for ice skating in a larger map
  • Brouwersgracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Keizersgracht
  • Prinsengracht from Brouwersgracht up to Leidsegracht
  • Keizersgracht from Brouwersgracht up to Leidsegracht
  • Leliegracht from Prinsengracht up to and including Keizersgracht
  • Lijnbaansgracht from Brouwersgracht up to and including Passeerdersgracht
  • Passeerdersgracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Prinsengracht
  • Looiersgracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Prinsengracht
  • Lauriergracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Prinsengracht
  • Bloemgracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Prinsengracht
  • Egelantiersgracht from Lijnbaansgracht up to and including Prinsengracht
  • Korte Prinsengracht

The ‘Executive Board of Amsterdam Ice Protocol’ allows for a boating ban when ice begins to form and nighttime frost is predicted.

For many years the frost did not last, but in February 2012 the canals did freeze over. Thousands of Amsterdammers and tourists alike took to the ice.

Prinsengracht, February 2012.

The video below is titled ‘Ice Amsterdam’ — a playful reference to Amsterdam’s marketing slogan, I Amsterdam

Mind you, Waternet reminds people that the current boating ban does not mean it is safe to venture onto the ice just yet.

arrow Keep an eye on the weather in Amsterdam

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