Frysian sports

5 different Frysian sports

ice skating

A study by Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 3,000 years ago.[1] Originally, skates were merely sharpened, flattened bone strapped to the bottom of the foot. Skaters did not actually skate on the ice, but rather glided on top of it. True skating emerged when a steel blade with sharpened edges was used. Skates now cut into the ice instead of gliding on top of it. Adding edges to ice skates was invented by the Dutch in the 13th or 14th century. These ice skates were made of steel, with sharpened edges on the bottom to aid movement. The construction of modern ice skates has stayed largely the same since then. In the Netherlands, ice skating was considered proper for all classes of people, as shown in many pictures by the Old Masters.

In the 1600s, young nobles organized sleigh races on the canals near the palace at The Hague, sometimes at night by torchlight, often followed by dancing. Business slowed in the cold season, and when the lakes and canals froze over, everyone skated – young and old, men and women, peasants, and princes. A unity of classes is established through the excitement of the sport. The skaters glide by, hands clasped behind their backs and body bent slightly forward, or in couples with an arm around each other’s waist, or in long snakelike formations - the entire column of skaters leaning to the right and then the left, quickly, and in unison. Adding color to the scene, instead of wearing overcoats or furs, people skate in their ordinary indoor clothes with extra layers of wool underneath. Caparisoned horses, their headgear topped by a plume, draw painted wooden sleighs

Eva Lim Open Nederlands Kampioenschap Kunstschaatsen 2008

Frysian Eleven Cities

There has been mention of skaters visiting all eleven cities of Friesland on one day since 1760. The Elfstedentocht was already part of Frisian tradition when, in 1890, Pim Mulier conceived the idea of an organised tour, which was first held in 1909. After this race, the Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden(nl) (Association of the Eleven Frisian Cities) [5] was established to organise the tours.

The winters of 1939/40, 1940/41 and 1941/42 were particularly severe,[6] with the race being run in each of them. The 1940 race, run three months prior to the German invasion of the Netherlands, saw over 3,000 competitors start at 05:00 on 30 January, with the first five finishing at 16:34. The event dominated the front pages of Dutch newspapers.[7]

The Elfstedentocht of 1963 became known as "The hell of '63" when only 69 of the 10,000 participants were able to finish the race, due to the extremely low temperatures, -18 °C, and a harsh eastern wind. Conditions were so horrendous that the 1963 winner, Reinier Paping, became a national hero, and the tour itself legendary.[8][9]

The next Elfstedentocht after 1963 was held in 1985; times had changed. Before, one of the best methods to stay warm during the tour was to wear newspapers underneath the clothes. In the 20 years between the tours of 1963 and 1985, clothing, training methods and skates became much more advanced, changing the nature of skating.

The tour of 1985 was terminated prematurely because of thawing; as early as 22:00 in the evening skaters were taken off the ice. In 1986 the Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander completed the Elfstedentocht under the name W.A. van Buren, Van Buren being a traditional pseudonym of the Royal House.


Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording humanity greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait dating between 5000 and 5500 BCE.[1] Polynesian oceanfarers traveled vast distances of open ocean in outrigger canoes using navigation methods such as stick charts.[2] Advances in sailing technology from the Middle Ages onward enabled Arab, Chinese, Indian and European explorers to make longer voyages into regions with extreme weather and climatic conditions. There were improvements in sails, masts and rigging; improvements in marine navigation including the cross tree and charts, of both the sea and constellations, allowed more certainty in sea travel. From the 15th century onwards, European ships went further north, stayed longer on the Grand Banks and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and eventually began to explore the Pacific Northwest and the Western Arctic.[3] Sailing has contributed to many great explorations in the world.
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Frisian handball is played on a rectangular lawn of 61 meters by 32 meters, by two teams composed of 3 players. In the center of one short side of the field is a receiving zone of 5 meters by 19 meters defended by 2 players, the other team member remaining field player. One of the opponents serves the hard leather ball with his bare hand from a serving box at about 30 meters from the receiving zone. If he does not succeed in reaching the receiving zone, the receiving team gets a direct score. When the receiving team, of which the players are allowed to wear a single hardened leather glove, returns the ball over the short line behind the serving box (called the upper line, in Frisian boppe) they also get a direct score. Of course, the serving team is allowed to prevent this happening by hitting or holding the ball before the upper line. The place where the ball remains after such a rally is marked with a small woodblock called a kaats, which is best defined as an undecided score. When two such undecided points occur (or one, if one of the teams is on game point) the teams change places. In the next rally, the team that then has the receiving position, tries to hit the ball past the first kaats and, if any, in the next rally past the second kaats, so deciding the undecided points. Then they start all over again.

In parts of Belgium, the similar game of jeu de balle-pelote is played. This game is played by teams of 5 players on a trapezium shaped field, mostly located on marketplaces

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Poles were used as a practical means of passing over natural obstacles in marshy places such as provinces of Friesland in the Netherlands, along the North Sea, and the great level of the Fens across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Artificial draining of these marshes created a network of open drains or canals intersecting each other. To cross these without getting wet, while avoiding tedious roundabout journeys over bridges, a stack of jumping poles was kept at every house and used for vaulting over the canals. Venetian gondoliers have traditionally used punting poles for moving to the shore from their boat.

Distance pole vaulting competitions continue to be held annually in the lowlands around the North Sea. These far-jumping competitions (Frysk: Fierljeppen) are not based on height.[3]

One of the earliest pole vaulting competitions where height was measured took place at the Ulverston Football and Cricket Club, Lancashire, north of the sands (now Cumbria) in 1843.[4] Modern competition began around 1850 in Germany, when pole vaulting was added to the exercises of the Turner gymnastic clubs by Johann C. F. GutsMuths and Friedrich L. Jahn. The modern pole vaulting technique was developed in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. In Great Britain, it was first practiced at the Caledonian Games.

Initially, vaulting poles were made from stiff materials such as bamboo or aluminum. The introduction of flexible vaulting poles in the early 1950s made from composites such as fiberglass or carbon fiber allowed vaulters to achieve greater height.[5] Physical attributes such as speed, agility and strength are essential to pole vaulting effectively, but technical skill is an equally if not more important element. The object of pole vaulting is to clear a bar or crossbar supported upon two uprights (standards) without knocking it down.

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