Dutch make the world’s fastest ice

Speed skating is the national sport in the Netherlands. The Thialf stadium in Friesland is to skating in the Netherlands what Wimbledon is to tennis and Madison Park to basketball. Last weekend, the new Thialf stadium opened claiming the world’s fastest ice at sea level.

New Thialf Stadium

New Thialf Stadium

Top sporting performance

The new stadium creates ideal conditions for a top sporting performance. And although open to the public, the focus is on the top end of competitive sports. The 400-metre rink has the best ice and is the only rink in the Netherlands with A-status from the International Skating Union (ISU). The temperature and the humidity can be easily regulated. Spectators are separated from the rink by glass making it easier to regulate perfect conditions.

Solar roof

The original stadium was built in 1986, replacing the outdoor rink from 1967.The old building was deconstructed from the inside out at the end of the last skating season. The new stadium was constructed on the same site, reusing materials from the old stadium and using sustainable materials. With 5000 solar panels it also boasts  the Netherlands’ largest solar roof on a stadium. The solar panels generate enough energy for 375 households. This is a quarter of the energy required  to run the stadium. By 2020 the stadium should be fully self-sufficient.

Social return

Thialf Stadium and construction company Ballast Nedam also actively recruited employees from the region for the project. The building firm also set aside 5 percent of the total wages for ‘social return’ programmes in which students on vocational training  courses enjoyed practical training. Local children were also given the opportunity to follow the progress of the project and be introduced into the construction industry with speeddates, visits to the building site and a digital tribune to watch its construction online.