Ice skating is a stable of many EU capitals in the winter, Source: Krzysztof Kowalik / Unsplash

Belgian cities abandon ice skating rinks due to high energy costs

Belgian cities abandon ice skating rinks due to high energy costs

Authorities have said that ice skating makes little sense when households are being asked to save energy and municipalities to turn off public lights

As energy prices rise, many Belgian cities have announced that they will not install ice skating rinks during the winter months. What used to be a common site around Christmas Markets makes little economic sense now as the energy prices rise.

Indeed, many mayors have spoken out that, considering governments and municipalities have to save energy through measures like thermostat reductions, ice rinks represent an extravagant luxury and tremendous energy sink.

At the same time, some local authorities have opted to find replacement installations that will still be able to offer residents a dose of winter fun. These range from roller skating rinks to curling rings.

The cities and their plans

Nieuwpoort is a small town of 11,000, near the Belgian border with France and authorities have announced that they will install a roller skating rink, instead of ice skating one. As VRT reports, Mayor Geert Vanden Broucke explained that the usual Christmas decorations will still be present with the exception of the ice rink.

Last Christmas, Niewpoort created a skate path that snakes around the Christmas Market, suitable for both children and adults. The idea was that people would be able to skate through the Christmas atmosphere. This year, they will keep the snaking concept, however, the path will be made for roller skates.

In the town of Jabbeke, located near Bruge, authorities have said that they will install a plastic curling ring. The city has not had an ice rink since 2019 because of the pandemic. Mayor Frank Casteleyn explained that last time, it cost around 40,000 euros while now it would exceed 70,000. This, he pointed out, would make little economic sense, considering that households are being asked to save energy.

Bruges authorities will install an ice rink made of plastic for the third year in a row, while Kortrijk, Roeselare and Ypres will consider alternatives during municipal meetings today.



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