While British families are stocking up on flour, milk and eggs in preparation for national Pancake Day on Tuesday 13 February, parts of the Netherlands are starting their 5-day debauchery called Carnaval today. Although these two events may seem worlds apart, they are actually very closely related.
Waking up to a world covered in a layer of ice this morning suddenly reminded me of the Elfstedentocht, an ice skating tour of nearly 200 kilometres in the Netherlands. Although this must be the most anticipated sports event in the country, it has only taken place 15 times since its very first official edition in 1909.
‘Where is New Amsterdam then?’ I hear you think. Alas, New Amsterdam no longer exists. Nowadays you might know this place better by the name of New York City. Not everybody knows this, but the Dutch ruled the area for over 40 years till they lost it to the English in the 17th century. Just imagine that [...]