Last Tuesday a big part of West – Europa had to deal with heavy snowfall. The Netherlands was no exception. Temperature plummeted below zero so some of outdoor skating tracks were opened. I was anxious whether we would be able to skate on the canals but at the same time I dreaded the slippery streets and the cold. This winter fun lasted only 4 days. At the end rain washed the snow away at once.
However, this does not mean the end of winter. Last year, the cold front came in March turning frozen canals into outdoor skating rinks. I went skating in a canal nearby my neighbourhood. You know, some traditions have not changed at all. After this lengthy opening, I would love to present you, Hendrick Avercamp. Dutch master from the Golden Age, specialized in winter scenes.
Avercamp was born in 1585 in Amsterdam. Later on he moved to the city of Kampen, where he was known as de stomme van Kampen, the deaf of Kampen. His paintings and drawings depict people having fun on frozen canals, skating, frolicking or playing kolf (Dutch old game with a stick and a ball). I love to see how it was at that time. The costumes, the scenes, the locations, the sky and the activities.
Ijsvermaak bij een stad, Fun on ice in the city 1620
Kolfspelers op het ijs 1625. Kolf players on ice. Kolf is and old Dutch sport where players 4 against 4 try to bring the ball with a wooden stick to the goal.
A study of one kolf player with a stick from the previous painting. Pay attention to the detail of this gentleman’s costume.
Winter landscape with ice skaters 1608. I spot a red carriage with a horse.
Study: On the ice 1634. There is a toddler in a carriage with a horse and that child on the right has his dog on a sleigh.
Figures skating in a Dutch landscape 1625. This is a classic one, with a windmill at the background. I imagine that couple on the left approaching the other couple to say hi.
A winter landscape with figures on ice nearby a koek-en-zopie tent. Koek-en-zopie is a Dutch term for food and drink sold during the skating season. From the 17 until 19 century koek was cookie, zopie was warm drink made of bock beer, rum, egg, cinnamon and cloves. Nowadays koek-en-zopie still exists but it sells warm chocolate, snert (green pea soup), mulled wine and cookies or cakes.
Coming from a tropical country myself, I get this wintry nostalgia. Well, I am starting to have enough of the cold but would not mind another skating weekend, only at weekend when I don’t have to work.