Tikkie is a Dutch app to send payment requests to friends and family, and surely foes as well. The Dutch Skaters’ Union (KNSB) – and by skaters we mean ice skating for marathons in this case – has recently decided to use Tikkie to send payment request for fines to their members who don’t obey their rules such as wearing the right clothing or not signing up for an event on time.
However, marathon skater Lisanne Buurman thought fair is fair and decided to send the KNSB a Tikkie for an undisclosed amount of prize money she had been owed for over ten months. Apparently, the prize money should have been paid within two months. The KNSB has since recognised that they messed up and plan to pay up, and it’s the Tikkie that made them take notice.
The KNSB sends out first-time fines of 10 euro, with the second fine being 25 euro. Tikkie is very convenient: ordinary folks go our for dinner, everybody orders, one person pays, and then instead of spending 30 minutes figuring out the bill (I’ve done that enough times), one person sends out a bunch of Tikkies to the rest and you’re all sorted.
There is a limit of 750 euro for Tikkies, and for something like prize money, a few Tikkies might have to be sent. Going Dutch has never been easier.
As of Thursday, people started skating on a few selected stretches of canals in Amsterdam, mainly the Prinsengracht. Yes, there’s been skating of all kinds happening in the north of the country as it is somewhat colder, but when skate fever hits Amsterdam, it’s a big deal worldwide. The sheer amount of spectators on the canal bridges means we’re all on someone’s holiday pictures and social media.
While co-blogger Branko was taking pictures, I cleared my schedule on Friday and went skating. I’ve own a pair of custom Riedell ice skates since I was girl in Canada and they are at my door with my hats and gloves at 24oranges HQ ready to go skating. The last time the canals froze in Amsterdam was February 2012 and back then I had a broken leg from roller skating and missed out on all the fun. I couldn’t be happier to finally get to skate this time around. Practicing any of my figure skating jumps was not an option though, sadly, since the ice would crack in places as we all skated over it. It got a bit scary: getting on and off the ice at strategic places meant relying on the help of strangers and nobody is going to tell you where to skate and where not to, which is all very unregulated yet freeing.
I saw a guy cycle on the ice while texting, I saw girls and boys playing hockey together with some adults and I saw people skating for the first time on speed skates.
Today’s weather called for black ice in the North of the country, as the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) issued a code red with many accidents happening on the roads, albeit nothing fatal so far.
To quote Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff, “every disadvantage has its advantage”, as many people in places like Leeuwarden, Assen and Groningen were gripped by ice fever and took to skating on the streets (see video) because ice must be skated on when it’s there, a sentiment echoed by former world champion Renate Groenewold who ‘couldn’t resist it’.
The Dutch are waiting for three magic words: ” It. Giet. Oan.” If uttered by the 22 district heads of the biggest ice skating endurance race this side of the Baltic, they will signify the start of said race, the Elfstedentocht.
But first the ice along the canals and lakes of the 220-kilometre-long Elfstedentocht has to thicken. IJsdikte.eu provides a platform where volunteers can enter ice thickness in Friesland. Currently, there is a lot of ice of between 6 and 12 centimetres to be found. To be able to sustain the large amounts of people that would participate in the Elfstedentocht, the ice needs to be at least 15 centimetres thick. During the previous Elfstedentochten the ice was an average of 18 centimetres thick.
Earlier this morning the 22 district heads who had had their first meeting in 15 years, told the press that the ice was ‘fantastic’ in the North of the province, but weak in the South near Stavoren and Luts. At least another week of frost is required to freeze the weak spots. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) predicted yesterday that the ice would reach a thickness of 25 centimetres on Saturday 11 February.
The Elfstedentocht is only open to members, many of which have been members for decades. There are also people who were registered at birth, but who have yet to skate their first race. The last race was in 1997, and won by Henk Angenent. If the race goes on (‘giet aon’), the province of Friesland expects to welcome 2 million spectators.
A couple of months ago Kasper Bak acquired a Canon EOS 550D photo camera, which apparently possesses some great video features. He used its slo-mo setting to shoot this short film about people skating in Lemmer, Friesland. It’s been doing the rounds on them there Internets.
In the eastern province of Overijssel there is a lacustrine village called Giethoorn that has no roads, although according to wikipedia there is a bike path. Saying that is a ‘Venice of the North’ is a cliché since people call Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, Russia that already and with good reason. Giethoorn (referring to the horns of a goat) has some 2620 inhabitants, one of which we wrote about, Siegfried Woldhek, a famous caricaturist.
Back in 2008, Giethoorn celebrated the 50th anniversary of the film ‘Fanfare’ by Bert Haanstra, which was filmed there. See the news clip and bits of the film here:
You can always have a look at an elaborate video of Giethoorn, which starts with people skating over the water in winter:
After a horrible farming accident involving many broken bones, a coma and a full splenectomy some five years ago, Geert-Jan van der Wal still won yesterday’s Veluwemeertocht (Lake Veluwe tour) outdoor skating race.
It wasn’t an easy win by the looks of it on television. It involved a gruelling last-minute sprint with fellow skater Jouke Hoogeveen, which had Van der Wal screaming out in pain. “I had to scream, my entire legs were in such terrible pain. I was exhausted. Man, I never would have thought this five years ago.”
Of course, he has his unbelievable determination to thank for his improbable win, but he also says eating his mom’s pancakes before the race gives him “the engine of a scooter”.
Speed skaters have suffered no ill effects from the economic crisis, reports Z24 (Dutch).
The on-line financial magazine points out that sponsor contracts for long track speed skating teams tend to be long term. Insurers TVM and DSB for instance have sponsorship contracts in place until 2014. “Skating has loyal partners,” Barbara Peeters of Referee Sportsmarketing is quoted as saying.
But the main reason appears to be the loyalty of the fans. “Skating is not a sport, but a madness,” the TVM team’s manager Patrick Wouters said.
And what may also help is that skating matches generate an enormous amount of exposure. Whereas the most popular sport, football, is behind a pay wall with only an hour of summaries shown on public television, long track speed skating is shown 120+ hours a year. With only a few companies sponsoring the sport, logos tend to be on screen for a long time.
As of 11 May, the skaters of the Holiday on Ice show in the Netherlands will test a new figure skate that will send them more than two metres in the air, according to Dutch skate manufacturer, Viking. If the skates are a success, they will be put to use as of 22 October 2009 during the new ‘Spirit of the World’ show. The skates apparently increase the jumping capacity of skaters by 40 to 50 percent.