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Danish outdoor skating rinks put winter 2022 on ice

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish outdoor skating rinks put winter 2022 on ice
The outdoor ice rink in Aarhus back in January 2001. It won't be making an appearance this year due to high energy costs. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Three Danish cities have chosen to forego their outdoor ice skating rinks this winter to save on energy costs. 

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Middelfart, Esbjerg and Aarhus have all decided against opening their traditional outdoor ice rinks this winter as a result of high energy prices.

The ice rinks are normally open throughout the winter and provide an extra leisure attraction in the towns during the festive season.

“Ice rinks like these are an expensive pleasure. Especially this year, when heating is turned down, we want to send a political signal,” said Jakob Lose, chairman of the municipal culture and leisure commission in Esbjerg. 

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Lose said that an outdoor ice rink typically racks up 30,000 kilowatt-hours over a season. The average Danish household uses around 4,500 kilowatt-hours in a year. 

“That’s a large amount of money when energy prices are at the level they currently are,” Lose said.

“There won’t be as much activity or joy as usual down at the city square in Esbjerg. And neither can we rule out a knock-on effect on shopping,” he conceded.

“But we could stop the installation [by making a decision now], so that’s what we’ve decided,” he said.

Representatives in Middelfart said that operating the ice rink this year would have lacked a sense of priority.

“If we are facing cutbacks on electricity, we can’t spend a load of money on having an expensive ice rink running,” Mette Ahlmann, event manager with operating firm Brobygning Middelfart, told news wire Ritzau.

In Aarhus, cultural organisation Sport & Fritid confirmed the decision in a statement on its website.

“Desperate times demand serious action. We as a municipality must take the lead and make a contribution to get through the crisis,” said Rabih Azad-Ahmad, an official with the city’s Culture and Citizens’ Service.

The government asked local authorities to consider energy saving measures at a September 8th briefing at which it announced thermostats in public buildings would be set to lower temperatures this winter to save on heating. External illumination of public buildings will likewise be cut.

READ ALSO: Denmark to reduce temperature and turn off illumination at public buildings

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