This fantastic evening for ESSV Alcedo members was early this year: it was held on 4 December, as the first winter training session for the skating season was scheduled for this date. So beginners and experienced skaters alike got the chance to practise as much as they wanted for the new skating season at the Rotterdam Ice Rink.

Club members were divided into two groups: the experienced ones took off at full speed while the less skilful ones proceeded with caution. The trainer explained to the beginners how to stand in the right position for skating. Some of them had only tried this out ‘on dry land’ during the summer training session.

Fractured wrist

Surprisingly enough, the session went off without any casualties, although there were some near misses now and again. “I almost fell a couple of times, but luckily I was able to keep my balance,” Thijs Dorna (21) tells us happily.

He fractured his wrist as a child while skating and hadn’t had the courage to try again since last Monday. “I wanted to try a new sport, I was already doing athletics and fitness exercises, but that’s pretty boring,” he explains. Thijs, who’s a master student in Supply Chain Management, always wanted to learn to skate and now he’s finally got the opportunity.

Thijs had no idea how to skate at the beginning of the session: “When I went on the ice, my first thought was: what on earth have I let myself in for?” He made a lot of progress during the 90-minute session, although you can clearly see the difference in expertise with the other skaters. “I’m really envious of all those people gliding about expertly on the ice! I can’t do that yet, worse luck,” he admits.

Master student Thijs Dorna (21) just manages to keep his balance while skating. Image credit: Jack Parker


Unlike Thijs, fellow club member and pre-master student in Medicine Èmese Heijkoop (22) does have quite a bit of experience in skating, as she once took lessons and she’s been practising at an ice rink in Dordrecht with a group from the club for the past few weeks.

But she still joins the beginners at regular intervals. “Advanced skaters mainly focus on condition and speed, but beginners concentrate on learning the right technique and I really enjoy this too,” she says.

Committee secretary Sanne Boom (22) is another beginner, as she only started learning to skate last year. “Members who haven’t got much experience should be represented on the committee as well, and I can do that better than experienced skaters,” Sanne adds.

Treasurer and medical student Jan van Dam (24) finishes his final round before diving into the bar. Image credit: Jack Parker


As a committee member, Sanne Boom – together with fellow members like treasurer and medical student Jan van Dam (24) – is responsible for recruiting new members besides organising activities like galas and get-togethers in the pub. The club wasn’t set up till 2013, which is why there aren’t very many members as yet: only 55.

According to Jan van Dam, the small number of members has created a tremendous sense of solidarity: “Skating’s an individual sport, but you still do it as a team. Everyone can learn from each other and they can all follow each other when skating too, which is a lot more fun than skating on your own. Team spirit’s the most important thing,” Jan explains just before Alcedo members leave the rink to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or glühwein at the bar.

  • Erasmus Studenten Schaatsvereniging Alcedo (Erasmus Students Skating Club)
    • Established: 22 November 2013
    • No. of members: 55
    • Website: ESSV Alcedo