With the spring-like temperatures and clear blue skies that we had this weekend, it's hard to believe that last week the majority of the Netherlands was covered in snow and ice. Seemingly everyone had a sleigh and a pair of ice skates at the ready and were outside enjoying the best that winter weather has to offer.
It's been a few years since Amsterdam got any significant amount of snow, so the news of the incoming winter storm had everyone excited. Being from eastern North Carolina where we freak out at even a few snowflakes, I was pretty eager myself.
I knew that the city would look amazing covered in snow, so I took advantage of it and offered 15 minute mini-sessions around the city. These ended up being a huge success and I have so many great photos and portraits of people enjoying the snow.
It snowed non-stop for almost 48 hours. The energy around the city was incredible, every corner there were people out smiling and playing in the snow. A welcome reprieve from all the negativity that the last year has brought.
After the snow stopped, the following week consisted of daily temperatures falling well below freezing. The Netherlands sits below sea level, so there is water everywhere, which means lots of natural ice for people to skate on.
Here is a photo of people on the Prinsengracht canal. The ice was never deemed technically safe to skate on, but that didn't stop people.
I didn't realize how much ice skating was a part of Dutch culture. There is even an event called the Elfstedentocht, a legendary 200 kilometer skating race that tours the 11 cities of Friesland. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, but there was still plenty of ice skating. Even though people say it doesn't get this cold often any more, it seemed that everyone (even toddlers) had ice skates and knew how to use them.
I didn't have any ice skates, but I couldn't let the rarity of frozen canals in Amsterdam pass without at least being able to say I stood on them. Here is a terrible blurry photo my husband took as proof.
It's clear now that the coldest part of winter is behind us. I, like many others, am now looking forward to spring, but I am very glad that winter went out with a bang.