Frozen fear - saving yourself on thin ice

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

It’s the nightmare of every outdoor skater: you’re skating along and suddenly, CRACK, you’ve fallen through and are stuck underneath the ice. What do you do? Some Dutch schoolchildren are learning just that at a swimming pool in the central Dutch town of Zevenaar.

The children are learning how to climb out of a hole in the ice and how to save their friends if they’ve fallen through. The most important lesson: remain calm.

Of course, this is much easier in warm swimming pool water than in the ice-cold water outdoors. But at least the training gives children who have fallen through the ice an idea of whether to aim for the light- or the dark-colored spot.