Dutch Arctic

Finally, it’s there! A little bit of real winter in the Netherlands!! Usually, winter only last for a day or two, gives a little bit of snow that has melted away the next day and if we’re lucky, we might be able to skate on an inundated bit of farmland. But not this year!

A group of White-fronted Geese flying over the frozen landscape

After some nights with a little bit of snow (the typical Dutch winter), last weekend it really started. Suddenly the temperatures dropped well below zero, we had some snow and a storm was passing the country. Unfortunately, most of the snow fell further south, but it was still great to head outside (despite the code red that was announced because of the ‘bad weather’). Must be the advantage of being a polar expedition guide, I’m used to conditions like this.

Snow landscape in black and white

Despite all warnings, I decided to go to the Onlanden, a relatively new nature reserve fairly close to my home. After a short bike ride (yes, I’m still Dutch), I set off on a short walk. At least, that’s what I intended. But the more I walked, the more I liked it, so the loop became larger and larger. Really enjoying the little snow storm (more storm as snow, unfortunately) from inside my cocoon of warm clothes. Apart from the scenery, the highlight was an Ermine (or Stoat). He seemed really happy in his white coat, finally understanding why he changes colour each winter… After about 10km (and only few other people), I came back to my bike and headed home. Time for a well earned cup of tea.

Empty roads with drifting snow

Fortunately, the temperatures stay below zero for a while, so I can go out more often and enjoy these beautiful conditions a bit more.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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