Goose-bump gala: Thousands take icy Dutch dip

dutch---nyeSCHEVENINGEN: Tens of thousands of hardy souls, some dressed appropriately as superheroes, plunged into the icy waters of the North Sea on Sunday as The Netherlands marked the New Year.

In the resort of Scheveningen, bathers donning caps with the national colour of orange strode into the waves at noon, many screeching as they encountered a water temperature of seven degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) and a white fog.

“It’s a fresh and frisky way to start the New Year,” exclaimed Mary Adriaensen, a 35-year-old swimmer from the eastern town of Arnhem, who stripped off a fake-fur outer layer to reveal a bikini.

The annual dip drew around 52,000 people to 142 sites in the Netherlands, according to the organisers.

Launched 57 years ago, it is firmly established on the tourism calendar, luring visitors from as far afield as Asia.