amsterdam canal frozen

Amsterdam is so cold right now that people are skating the canals

The affectionately named "Beast from the East" that is sweeping continental Europe and the UK is causing temperatures to plummet lower than they've been in decades and see cities receive huge dumpings of snow they're not usually accustomed to. And while it's making transport stop and people to whine persistently as they endure the week-long cold front, others are showing us exactly how to make the most of this extreme weather.

Temperatures in Amsterdam are so cold right now that the canals featured in everyone's postcards from the Dutch capital have completely frozen over. And what does one do in such a scenario? Why, strap on the ice-skates, of course!

Men, women, children, and even their dogs took to the ice, some to just walk across it for the photo opportunity, and others with skates to try and work on their triple axel. It's a real novelty to walk across the water that usually flows through the city's iconic canals year-round, and is reportedly the first time in six years that locals have been able to do so.

Temperatures last week stayed below freezing, hovering around -6°C (21°F) most days, causing the ice to form. Part of the Instagram-favourite Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals froze solidly enough to support the weight of crowds of people, and with temperatures staying down over the weekend, it's likely more of the city's canals will transform into makeshift skating rinks too.

Boats were banned from some of the city's canals this week, and authorities closed locks to help the ice develop. The KNSB skating union reports which outdoor rinks and frozen waterways are open to skaters, but still insist that individuals should be extra cautious when attempting to navigate the ice.

But that didn't stop them from taking the opportunity to clamber down from the streets to skate under the bridges, and you bet that they took plenty of videos and photos to share online. It really is a sight to behold.

One person on Twitter shared a video with the caption, "today, for the first time in years, people were ice skating on the amsterdam canals":

And some enthusiastic folk even decided to strike up a friendly game of ice hockey:

"First time seeing the canals frozen," someone wrote with love-heart-eyes. They called the ice-skaters "brave" for daring to cross the ice of unknown thickness:

"How the Dutch commute," another person wrote. "Just two people on their way to work":

Known as the "Venice of the North", Amsterdam is a city built on water that is four metres below sea level in some districts. Most of the canals were built during the seventeenth century, and they now span over one hundred kilometres in total.

While you'll probably be too late by the time you book a ticket and fly over there and join the crowds skating there yourself, the consistent social media uploads will just have to do. Keep 'em coming, folks!