Eleven Cities Tour
As soon as temperatures drop below zero the Dutch are brimming with excitement about the legendary Elfstedentocht, the world's most prestigious speed and leisure skating events.
Don’t miss out on the Elfstedentocht madness and read all about it here
When the temperature drops below zero for a couple of days, the eleven cities fever starts to spread in Holland. A minimum ice thickness of 15 cm is required before the Koninklijke Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden (Royal Frisian Eleven Cities Association) will approve the ice-skating tour. As the name says, the route of the world’s longest ice skating competition on natural ice runs through 11 Frisian cities. The members of the association start in Leeuwarden early in the morning. The ‘tour to end all tours’ starts when dawn is still hours away.
Which eleven cities make up the Elfstedentocht?
Starting in Leeuwarden, the competitors skate clockwise to Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, and Dokkum, finishing in Leeuwarden. The fastest skaters take about 7 hours to complete the 200 kilometer track. Competitors have until midnight to reach the finish line.
Want to experience the Elfstedentocht?
Only members of the association are allowed to participate in the tour. With an eye to safety on the ice, a maximum of 16,000 skaters are allowed to participate. But the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic. On the day of the tour, life throughout the province of Friesland revolves around the event. You will be able to experience real Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (pleasantness) in every town along the tour itinerary!
Don’t miss this spectacle. Follow us on Facebook so you’ll be the first to know when the tour to end all tours occurs.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- When can you ice skate in Holland?
Skating on natural ice is only possible in winter, as long as it has frozen for a number of days. Ice skating on an artificial ice rink is possible in several cities during winter.Read more
Experiences by our editors:
Sven Kramer, Gianni Romme and Jochem Uytdenhaage, they are just some of the Olympic skating champions that our country has to offer. Because if there’s one sport that the Dutch excel in, it is ice skating. Denise Mosbach has also been suffering from the skating fever, which grips the Dutch in winter.Read more