Arend Vreugdenhil participated in the Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour) in 1985 and 1997

Arend Vreugdenhil bij de finish in 1985
Genealogiecode: N X as
Door: Redactie
Bron: Familiestichting
Foto: Leeuwarder Courant

In February 1985, the ice began to thaw, and most people had already given up hope. No Eleven Cities Tour had been held since 1963. But suddenly, the weather started to freeze again, and the now legendary words of the Eleven Cities Tour chairman, Jan Sipkema, were heard: “It will happen.”

One of the tens of thousands of recreational skaters was Arend Vreugdenhil from Zuid-Holland. He and his two brothers-in-law were given a place to sleep in Leeuwarden by Roel and Ina Siksma. Vreugdenhil spoke about the warm welcome: “As we say in the west: then you’re being fried in butter.”

“Arend Vreugdenhil managed to complete the Elfstedentocht. At the finish line, he knelt on the ice and kissed the finish line. That photo became world-famous. In an interview with radio reporter Eelke Lok at the finish line, Vreugdenhil said: “No one can be happier than me.” In the Fryslân DOK documentary “When the tour that never happened… happened,” filmmaker Piter Tjeerdsma speaks with people who were there in 1985. Arend Vreugdenhil thanks the public: “Through the people, even a rider like me can ride such an Elfstedentocht. Thank you! It was superb.” Arend also completed the Elfstedentocht in 1997.”