Get your skates out: There is ice on the canals of Amsterdam!

Ice on the canals of Amsterdam, February 2018
Brouwersgracht has partially frozen over, February 2018

Breaking news from the Netherlands: there is ice on the canals of Amsterdam! I repeat: there is ice on the canals of Amsterdam! This is huge: if the freezing temperatures continue – and if we’re very very lucky – the ice might get strong enough for people to get on it. Can you imagine walking or skating on Amsterdam’s canals, underneath the bridges and past the gorgeous canal houses? It would be simply magical.

As many parts of Europe, Amsterdam has suffered from enjoyed some freezing temperatures lately. It’s been so cold, in fact, that yesterday we checked whether the city had issued the so-called Ijsnota, the ice protocol that includes banning boats from the canals so that they don’t disturb the ice. Alas, they had not: the conditions were not right yet, the local water authority Waternet said.

Ice on the canals of Amsterdam, February 2018

This morning we woke up extra early to go and check on the ice. The canal closest to us did not seem frozen at first, but soon we noticed that ice had formed on parts of it and even looked quite strong in some places. We then walked up to to Brouwersgracht, one of the city’s most beautiful canals – and could barely believe our eyes. It was frozen. Sure, the ice looked quite thin in places, and it would be way too dangerous to even try walking on it at this stage – but still, there was a clear layer of ice on the canal, reflecting the sunlight and the canal boats stationed along it. (All the photos in this post are from our walk this morning).

Ice on the canals of Amsterdam, February 2018

As soon as I got home, I hurried to check on the Ijsnota – and it had been issued! Waternet has banned boats from 16 canals, mostly in Jordaan, and closed some locks and pumping stations to slow down the flow of the water. Anything to get Amsterdamians on their skates!

I’m trying not to get too excited, though: I have work in London at the end of this week and need to travel back tomorrow. Usually I can’t wait to get to London (it’s my favourite city, after all), but this time I really don’t want to leave. The last time canals in Amsterdam froze over was in 2012 and, from what I’ve read, the last time before that was way back in the 1990’s.  I really, really, really would not want to miss it if it happens this year – who knows how long we’ll have to wait for the next time (or if it will ever happen again)?

Ice on the canals of Amsterdam, February 2018

Yet I know that getting to see the canals of Amsterdam frozen – even if I’m not in town long enough to be able to walk on them – is a privilege in itself. And, since the temperature is forecast to stay below zero today, and drop as low as -8 during the night, I’m still hoping that I might have time for a quick morning stroll on the canals (not beside them, as usual :D) before catching my train tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed and get your skates ready!

To follow the development of ice on the canals of Amsterdam in real time, check my Instagram stories. Remember to follow Studying the World on Facebook and Bloglovin as well.


    1. It usually doesn’t get quite chilly enough for canals to freeze over, even though Amsterdam is a relatively cold city. Thank you, and greetings right back! 🙂

  1. Vihdoin löysin tän! Hauskaa, että ne kieltää oikeen veneliikenteen ja hidastaa pumppuja. Mitenkäs niiden jäiden kanssa kävikään joko ne on jäässä?

    1. Ne ehti jo jäätyä ja sulaa! Mä en harmi kyllä ollut enää Dameissa siinä vaiheessa kun rohkeat uskaltautui jäälle. Toivottavasti ensi vuonna tulee uusi mahis, vaikak edellisestä kerrasta olikin ehtinyt kulua jo kuusi vuotta!

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