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"A penny for your thoughts"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's dip in the cold sea

Thousands of Dutch people stripped Thursday Jan 1 2009 to brave near-freezing temperatures for a heart-stopping North Sea plunge that has become an annual New Year's ritual. It is a traditional Dutch happening, the 'Nieuwjaarsduik': on the first of January people take a swim in the sea. They raced along the Scheveningen beach in The Hague around lunchtime for a shocking, mostly brief, splash in the waves. The sea temperature, measured at six degrees Celsius, was about four degrees higher than on land. Afterwards, they flocked in droves to nearby tents where they were treated to a mug of traditionally Dutch pea soup. The event started 49 years ago as a joke by an individual which soon caught on among his friends and then became a national craze.

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