Dutch Roll

In the Netherlands and particularly in the western provinces that historically are known as 'Holland' a style known as the Dutch Roll existed. Rolling was a popular pastime on lakes, ponds, rivers and canals for ages. In the Dutch language this is known as 'zwieren' or 'schoonrijden' which can be interpreted as 'skating along by swirling in a gracefully manner at a regular pace'. The art of rolling consists of placing curved strokes on the ice by skating in turn on the outer edges of the runner blades only, as shown.

To do so one must lean the straight and outstretched body toward the outside. The strokes must follow one after the other in a regular rhythm changing sides at each following step. The arms must be kept quietly alongside the body. To manage this it is necessary for the body to move in a calm and controlled fashion with no sudden or sharp movements. The skating must appear effortlessly and thus sudden and brisk movements such as in figure skating are definitely not permitted. Rolling may be done alone, in pairs or even in groups. It looks beautifully and serenely. It is a discipline, which nowadays is still mastered by a small number of connoisseurs, who practise their art mainly in clubs and who perform folkloristic demonstrations.

Rolling skates
Rolling requires skates with runner blades that are not too thick (ca. 4 mm). The skates should be 'clean' in that they have no long necks, curls or whatsoever as to avoid catching. The blades are ground with a large radius. A too small radius will lead to short curves and unbalance of the skater.



rolling in traditional costume

ancient rolling skates

modern rolling skates

also figure skates are used

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