I really hate the cold and although Christmas is my favourite time of year, on 27 December I can again be longing for spring and the winter could not be over sooner. The Netherlands is a real ice skating country. As soon as it freezes for a week, the eleven-city virus re-emerges and everyone talks about the race really happening again: the Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour). The romance around the tour of tours in our beautiful Friesland is wonderful, but I am Amsterdam born and when it freezes there is nothing more beautiful for me than the scene of skating people and their children on the canals after a few weeks of frost. That makes my heart beat faster, but then please give me the first “skirt day” in March, as the sadly untimely deceased Dutch writer Martin Bril called the early spring days when women leave their long pants in the wardrobe and once more reveal their legs under a skirt.
Oh yes, that first spring day lightens my mood so well. Towards the end of the day, I think “To the terrace!”, having a nice glass of something, chatting with friends or with Saskia and the kids, having a snack, or strolling along the canal where the first folding tables have just been installed on the pavement with bottle of rosé on top, some cheese and nuts and you see them enjoying the first rays of sunshine. Waking up at seven in the morning to the light that streams in through the curtain opening instead of being rudely roused by a screaming alarm clock. Now that’s true spring for me.