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Record 40,000 Dutch in New Year North Sea dip

Published on Jan 2, 2013 6:12 AM
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THE HAGUE (AFP) - A record 40,000 people braved icy temperatures on the Netherlands's North Sea coast on Tuesday to take a cold plunge, setting a new record for the traditional New Year's Day dip, organisers said.

"There were around 10,000 swimmers in Scheveningen and a record number of 40,000 across the Netherlands," spokesman Jiske Barten said.

In the resort of Scheveningen, a district of The Hague and the main spot among the 102 nationwide for the growing annual event, many of the bathers wore Christmas hats and sported swimwear in the national orange colour as they ran into the sea, screaming and laughing despite the water temperature of 8 deg C.

"The outside temperature is also around eight degrees Celsius, but with the wind chill the felt air temperature is closer to zero," Ms Barten said. "It's a bit crazy but it's a tradition. If you're Dutch, you have to do it at least once in your life," said Sander Veltahuizen, a 29-year-old who said he was taking the New Year cold plunge for the 11th year running.