Skating on a frozen canal near the windmills at Kinderdijk in the Netherlands
© Lourens Smak/Alam
'Winterpret' on ice
These skaters in the village of Kinderdijk are embracing 'winterpret,' a Dutch word that means 'winter joy' or 'winter fun.' Whenever temperatures drop low enough, many locals take to the ice and skate away on a complex network of canals. These waterways were built centuries ago—along with pumps, dykes, and the windmills pictured here—to protect the village of Kinderdijk by diverting water from the land. It's an important job, since Kinderdijk, like much of the Netherlands, lies below sea level and flooding is a major problem. Nowadays a modern water management system with multiple pumping stations does the work, and the windmills are left with a new job–to maintain an iconic Dutch scene. In 1997, the Kinderdijk windmills were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.