Last January may have been one of the warmest in recorded history, February decided Winter is not quite over yet.
On the contrary... Mr. Winter came back with a vengeance: with him came the first official Dutch cold wave since 1997.
Obviously the cold comes with all kinds of annoyances; having your nose freeze off, to name one; or -this one is really irritating- the national railway falling into a complete chaos.
But all these inconveniences are soon forgotten once the Dutch waterways start to freeze over in earnest.
As soon as the first brave (or stupid, that depends) people have successfully ventured on the ice, our country falls victim to a collective ice-frenzy. Across the nation, enthusiasts rush to their attics to recover the rusty pair of ice skates they are sure they should have somewhere.
It usually takes a few days for the ice to be declared save enough for everybody to skate on, but from that moment on a large part of the Dutch population can be found on the frozen water (and plenty of smart entrepreneurs on the banks next to it, selling gluhwein and hot coco - we call them 'Koek & Zopie'-stands).
To be completely honest I wasn't at all enthusiastic about the prospect of being outside in the Cold all day (bear in mind, I'm not 100% Dutch), T had to drag me along.
In the end I am glad T went through the trouble to get me out there. Look at this pretty picture, shot with my Iphone while resting my feet near one of the popped up Koek & Zopie stands (on the deck of a houseboat).