Thousands of Europeans greeted the new year with a sobering swim in the freezing water. This has been a tradition in Europe since 1960, with just a few hardcore bathers taking part in the early years.
As many as 50,000 people in the Netherlands, many wearing knitted caps in trademark Dutch orange, took a mass plunge in the North Sea, which hovered at a brisk seven degrees celsius (44 degrees fahrenheit). 30-year-old Martijn, who has been getting his feet wet for 14 years straight said, "It's a true tradition that gives a fresh start to the year and immediately puts your resolutions into practice."
AdvertisementOther northern European cities also witnessed similar watery forays. In Switzerland, about 50 costumed revelers passed around flutes of bubbly as they bobbed in Lake Geneva. In Hemfurth, Germany, participants warmed afterwards in steaming tubs of hot water.
For cities across Europe, the freezing dips are not just a lighthearted tradition but also an occasion to raise funds for a good cause, as was the case for those who threw themselves into Northern Ireland's Carnlough Harbour.
One of the roughly 400 shivering swimmers who dashed into the North Sea in Dunkerque in northern France said, "It's nice once it's finished."
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