The Elfstedentocht (or, in West Frisian, Alvestêdetocht, English translation: “Eleven Cities Tour”), at 200 km, is the world’s largest and longest speed skating competition and leisure skating tour, and is held in the province of Friesland, Netherlands only when the ice along the entire course is 15 cm thick.
The first organized tour was held in 1909. After this race, the Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden (Association of the Eleven Frisian Cities)  was established to take care of the organisation.
The Elfstedentocht of 1963 is known as “The hell of ’63” when only 1% of the contestants finished the race, due to the extremely low temperatures -18°C and a harsh eastern wind.
So far it has been organized 15 times, the last one being in 1997.
The temperatures in late January and early February 2012 have heightened the expectations of a 2012 Elfstedentocht. On 2 February 2012, it was reported that 95% of various locks that controlled the water flow in the canals had been adjusted to maximise the ice thickness. On the same day, the Dutch weather meteorological service forecast that temperatures would not rise above freezing until Wednesday 8 February at the earliest and that the thickness of the ice would be 15 cm from Tuesday 7 February until Saturday 11 February.
It’s not something I’ll rush to the Netherlands for to watch, but I will be keeping a live-feed open in the corner of my desktop so I can watch a bit 😉4,095 views
7 thoughts on “Elfstedentocht 2012?”
Unfortunately it has been decided that there won’t be an Elfstedentocht in the coming days. Now the chances are minimal that it will still happen this year… 🙁
Hmm… Yesterday the official car of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander was spotted in Leeuwarden. Today the army is deploying troops to clear a stretch of ice. I wonder whether one has to do with the other… 😉
I would fly to Amsterdam to participate. Any idea how I might join a tour or how to register?
Joining the Elfstedentocht is impossible. Only members of the Association of the Eleven Frisian Cities qualify for a starting permit.
However, you are of course free to skate the course on your own. Not really appreciated during the actual Elfstedentocht, but any other day/time: go ahead 😎
How exciting! I’m following it closely from Russia 🙂
I’m sure it will be streamed live over the Internet when/if it will happen, so you can watch it as well 😎
It giet (nog) net oan…