That skating 400 years ago was one of the most popular winter activities in the Netherlands can be seen from numerous drawings and prints from that era. The first decades of the 17th century were unusually cold in the Netherlands. They were part of what is known as ‘The Little Ice Age’, a period in which the average temperature was lower than today. Remarkably often there were extremely severe winters for several years in a row. Not only did the rivers completely freeze over, but also the Zuiderzee and the Wadden Sea region, so that the crossing from Amsterdam to Friesland could be made over the frozen water by horse and cart.
The small presentation reveals by means of prints and drawings a vivid picture of the time when there was still a lot of activity on ice and when young and old, rich and poor preferred to travel on skates, in a sleigh or on foot on the frozen canals, rivers and lakes. Seventeen prints and drawings are on display in the Rijksmuseum’s 17th Century Print Room from 1 December to 31 March 2018.
The skating prints are on display to mark the collaboration with ‘De Coolste Baan van Nederland’ – ‘The Netherlands’ Coolest Rink’: an ice rink for young and old where sport and entertainment come together. The Rijksmuseum is the Official Cultural Partner of De Coolste Baan van Nederland, which is being organised from 18 January to 28 February 2018 at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium. KPN is the main sponsor of the Rijksmuseum and De Coolste Baan van Nederland.