Ice skating is serious business in the northern Netherlands, and a fierce competition is underway in the province of Drenthe: the fight for which city will get to build a new speed skating track.
By Hans de Preter / Translation by Traci White
Assen and Hoogeveen are both vying to become the destination for a to-be-built ice skating facility in the province. Hoogeveen looked to have the deal in the bag because the province of Drenthe had expressed their preference for the city’s plans. But on Thursday, regional media RTV Drenthe and Dagblad van het Noorden are reporting that Hoogeveen has announced that they will not be able to realise their ambitious plans on schedule.
Hoogeveen was promised a five-million-euro subsidy from the province on the condition that the ice skating facility could be completed by 2020. But earlier this week, the city made known that the project would not be able to meet that deadline, due in part to plans to build a swimming pool as part of the facilities as well. Altogether, the Hoogeveen facility would take 15 months longer to be completed.
The provincial council was none too pleased by the news and informed the city that this went against the agreement reached in July of 2017. The local government is now threatening to withhold the previously earmarked funding.
The Dagblad reported on Thursday that the municipality of Assen has seized the opportunity, insisting that they would be able to complete the skating facility by the planned deadline. VVD alderperson Roald Leemrijse says that if the money from the province were to go to Assen instead, they would build the skating rink next door to “Ice World”, an indoor skiing and skating facility which is currently under construction.
The provincial executive council of Drenthe will ultimately decide on whether Hoogeveen or Assen gets the funding to move forward.