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Thousands in Netherlands take icy New Year's dip

Published on Jan 1, 2014 9:38 PM

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Tens of thousands of revellers across the Netherlands braved the chilly winter weather on Wednesday to take a traditional New Year's plunge in the North Sea's icy waters.

Around 10,000 swimmers - most dressed only in shorts and bikinis - stormed the waves at The Hague's historic Scheveningen beach, while around 34,000 others did the same in 125 locations around the lowlands country, organisers said.

The so-called "Nieuwejaarsduik" (New Year's Dive) started in 1960 when a few friends decided to go for a swim to herald in a fresh start to the new year, organiser Esther Okker told AFP.

Since then it has grown into an annual tradition, with swimmers receiving a coveted orange beanie hat and a tin of Dutch pea soup as a reward from the event's sponsors.

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