This year, tens of thousands of children and adults will not have the opportunity to ice skate on Museumplein; the municipality of Amsterdam has chosen not to set up an ice rink in Amsterdam this winter. This marks the end of an Amsterdam tradition after many years.
The ice rink, IceAmsterdam, has become a winter institution in the city of Amsterdam over the past years. Thanks to good collaborations with the businesses around Museumplein and local partners, there have never been complaints on or around the ice rink. For nine years, the organization, Stichting Ice Amsterdam, operated without any form of subsidy or municipal contributions, allowing nearly 100,000 visitors to enjoy ice skating fun between the museums on Museumplein - from school classes ice skating to a hotspot where tourists from all over the world learned to skate their first few laps. The late Mayor Eberhard van der Laan even referred to IceAmsterdam as "a gift to the city."
Since 2019, it had already become clear that the permit needed to be reviewed for future possibilities on Museumplein after 10 years. For the past three years, there have been various voices from the South district of the Municipality of Amsterdam stating that the permit should be (European) tendered, but opinions within the Municipality itself have been divided on this matter. Last month, it was finally confirmed that this tendering process would definitively take place. "We have been in discussions with the Municipality of Amsterdam for three years, and these discussions have never provided clarity until suddenly in September, we heard that it couldn't proceed. We were astonished that it was canceled at the last minute," said the organization.
Because the final cancellation, after three years of discussions, was implemented in September of this year, there is no longer enough time to apply for a new permit. The procedure for a tender takes approximately six to nine months. For the 2023 edition, everything had already been put in motion, from materials to partners and from staff to promotional materials. Despite all the work, the Municipality stuck to its decision; no ice rink on Museumplein in 2023. "This indecision has now resulted in the ice rink of IceAmsterdam, where we allowed 100,000 people to enjoy ice through sports and games for young and old, remaining in the fridge. We would have liked to see it differently and have done everything we could, but unfortunately, without results," said the Stichting IceAmsterdam.