Flights canceled and vaccination drive halted as winter storm warnings and weather advisories put in place.
A deep winter freeze gripping the Netherlands is reawakening the national obsession with skating on frozen canals.
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute extended a warning for snowdrifts and slippery conditions to large parts of the country after more than 30 centimetres (12 inches) fell in 24 hours in some areas.
The train service remained patchy, while buses and trams continued to have difficulties in many Dutch towns and cities.
With subzero temperatures forecast to last more than a week, ice fever has swept the nation, offering a welcome respite from grim coronavirus news while also creating a challenge for authorities trying to uphold physical distancing rules.
People around the country were rummaging through attics and dusting off long-unused skates, while businesses that sharpen skate blades reported boom times.
Ice skating is a national wintertime passion in the Netherlands, with the country’s spandex-clad elite athletes dominating Winter Olympic speed-skating races in recent years. Amateurs of all ages eagerly await the Arctic conditions that allow them to take to the nation’s vast network of canals and waterways.
In the capital Amsterdam, where it was briefly cold enough to skate three years ago, city officials closed the canals to boat traffic to allow the ice to form.
The Netherlands, with its long tradition of ice skating, is home to the century-old “Elfstedentoch”, a 200-kilometre (124-mile) race on natural ice through 11 towns and cities. It was last held in 1997.
Icy temperatures are expected to last through the weekend and possibly longer.