Dutch Language Blog

3 in 1 – De Plakken for the Dutch Speed Skating Team! Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary, News

Last Monday, February 10th, the Nederlands Olympisch Schaatsteam (Dutch Olympic speed skating team) did something that no Dutch team has ever done. At the Olympische Winterspelen (Olympic Winter Games) held in Sotsji (Sochi) in Rusland (Russia) Michel Mulder earned the gouden plak (gold medal) on the Vijfhonderd meter – 500 meters x 2 (meaning that there are two races of 500 meters. The times are then accumulated).

Even more sensational was that the silver medal also went to a Dutch athlete, Jan Smeekens. And the third medal was for Ronald Mulder, Michel’s brother. What’s more, the time difference between the three was minimal. All three finished within the same second. Michel and Jan were only 12 thousandths of a second apart.

Earlier on Saturday, February 8th, a similar scenario occurred. After 5000 meters Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen, and Jorrit Bergsma, in that order, were the Olympic champions.

Sven Kramer is the most famous of the skaters mentioned here. He also set a new Olympic record in this run: 6:10.76. That means he had an average speed of 30.1 mph! Not only here he showed his excellence. He has been world champion multiple times before, and currently holds the world records for the 5000 meters and 10000 meters. That is at the least Indrukwekkend (impressive).

Schaatsen just is, next to soccer, the sport of the Dutch. Famously, the Elfstedentocht, a tour going through eleven cities in the province oFriesland in the Netherlands, is supposed to be held every year. However, the conditions have to be optimal, which is rarely the case. Often there is just not (thick) enough ice to skate on. So every year when the conditions might be just right, the heart of every Dutch person beats a little faster. It is all waiting for the magical words It Giet Oan!, which is Frisian for It takes place! The last time these words were uttered for this occasion was in 1997. And that was only the fifteenth time (More).

I added some videos that can give you a nicer feel of what the Olympic victory was like.

The King Willem Alexander and his Queen Máxima are uit hun dak (a saying, which basically means they are ‘happy out of bounds’) after the trio Mulder, Smeekens, Mulder claimed their victory.

Smeekens after his second place – he was not very pleased with the small time difference.


A full episode of NOS Studio Sportwinter, where this victory is also discussed – in Dutch!




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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.