Elfstedentocht fever explained


It is dreary and wet and not that cold, and this year the weather report even predicted the dreariness and not-coldness to last beyond the apocalypse, the perfect time to read about the mad panic that would sweep the country if winter were coming:

And then abruptly and over the protestations of our doubts it becomes apparent that the fate of our very society is placed into the hands of a tall, blond, probably very sober and severe man most likely called Siebe or Wiebe or Hidde or Fedde.


And our Siebe will look very sternly into the camera and solemnly proclaim ‘no’, because that’s his favourite word, further tests need to be performed, the thickness of the ice will be continuously monitored, and same time tomorrow. And the next day will be the same, the press conference live on every network, a solemn ‘no’, and DAY TWELVE OF THE PANIC CRISIS.


And all the nation’s eyes will have turned North, to a province so obsessed with ice they just went ahead and called the place Freezeland, like a theme park for masochists, and our man Siebe will appear again, with all the journalists in the land having run out of questions to ask him, and it’s just as well, because he makes a face as if he is about to be forced to eat something disgusting, and says,

and says, and says … you will have to read the rest of Paul G. Hunt’s wonderful explanation of how Dutch Elfstedentocht fever works to find out.

(Photo by Paul van Eijden, some rights reserved)

1 Comment »

  1. […] live in the Netherlands or have some understanding of Dutch culture. The pic above refers to the Elfstendentocht fever that takes over the news the moment ice starts forming on the […]

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