Danish outdoor skating rinks put winter 2022 on ice

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

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

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. 

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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Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

The Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) has issued guidelines to households heated by individual gas heaters in a bid to help them avoid very high bills.

Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

Around 240,000 households in Denmark will receive advice from the agency by physical or digital post, the agency said in a statement on Friday.

Gas prices in Denmark are currently rising as temperatures drop and energy production from wind turbines falls due to weather conditions.


“The Danish Energy Agency views it as an important task to help people like those with individual gas heaters [Danish: gasfyr] through good advice about how they best can reduce their heating consumption and take the worst off their gas bill,” head of office Vincent Rudnicki said in the statement.

The information letters are part of a national energy saving campaign which seeks to cut energy consumption during a period when prices can go through large variations.

When gas prices reached their 2022 peak in August, one megawatt hour of gas cost over 300 euros according to the Dutch exchange TTF.

At the beginning of December, the price has increased to 131 euros per megawatt hour after going through a period with lower prices during the autumn.

Although the price remains low compared to August, it is higher than it was two years ago, according to comments previously given to news wire Ritzau by Sydbank’s senior economist Søren Kristensen.

Kristensen said that the cost of heating a housing in Denmark is now 10,000 kroner per year higher on average than it was in the years prior to the energy crisis.

He also said that the winter is likely to push prices up from their current level.

“That will unfortunately mean that it will in no way be a cheap winter in relation to heating up the house or using electricity,” he said.

The Danish Energy Agency information letter will be sent to persons who own single-family houses which are heated by natural gas heaters, according to information stored on the national register BBR (Bygnings- og Boligregistret).

“At this time we have particular focus on those who live in villas or semi-detached houses because they have seen the largest of all the gas bill increases,” Rudnicki said.

In some cases, persons who no longer have gas heating will receive the letter if the BBR registry has not been updated, he noted.

Advice included in the information packs includes reducing temperature, using less hot water and having gas boilers services.

The saving tips may also be relevant for people who live in other types of housing, such as apartments, rental houses or terraced houses, according to the Energy Agency.