Elfstedentocht Challenge Cup
h 35 cm x ø 12 cm
In the early morning hours of 6 February 1941, 1900 people fastened on their skates. The race of all races was about to begin: the Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Speed Skating Tour). The weather was mild and the ice looked inviting. But there were also some concern. An imposed blackout meant a large part of the race would have to be skated in the dark, making it very difficult for many participants. The Frisian skater Auke Adema finished first.
On 22 January 1942, after a long spell of frost, the Elfstedentocht was held again. As many as 4,800 skaters signed up. The atmosphere was very special. Being together in Friesland, free from the Germans with their rules and bans, gave the participants a feeling of solidarity. The Germans could barely comprehend the nation’s fervour for this skating marathon. Given they had little control over the crowded event, they chose not to interfere. In 1942, Sietze de Groot of Weidum won the race. He skated the 200 kilometres in a record time of 8 hours and 44 minutes. Like all the others since 1912 the names of Auke Adema and Sietze de Groot’s names were engraved on the coveted silver trophy cup that is passed from winner to winner, which is still the custom today.