Extremely fun and absolutely worth it if you wanna do an alternative city tour: the (inline) skate parade. It’s a colourful spectacle on wheels, with music and a variety of people joining in for a tour on skeelers, inline skates and rollerblades.
We have participated in the parade in Utrecht, but as far as we can tell other cities such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Den Bosch have their own versions as well. In Rotterdam, for example, there is the Wednesday Night Skate (not in 2015). Amsterdam organises the Friday Night Skate, like Utrecht’s Skate Parade on Friday evening. Go to this website for nightskates in various cities or skate events throughout the country.
This blog refers to our experience with the skate parade in Utrecht. Participants gather at a determined location in town and from there it’s on for 20 km! The procession of skaters follows a pick up truck with huge speakers and a DJ, providing for upbeat music and a cool, party-like atmosphere. The parade rolls on through the streets and makes all heads turn everywhere it passes. A group of traffic controllers on skates blocks all other traffic.
Every week the organisers prepare a different route through town. The fun thing is, participating in the parade gives you the opportunity to see various neighbourhoods, especially those further outside the center that you normally wouldn’t visit. You’ll surely get to see the city from a new perspective and you’ll get a feeling of local living. It’s the ultimate opportunity to get far from the tourist hotspots and join in with the locals! Some evenings, the parade has a special theme (caribbean skate, pink skate) or it is dedicated to charity. Naturally, the event is closed off with a beer or two at one of the local bars 🙂
It’s fun, it’s local, it’s active – go for it!
- Costs: voluntary contribution to cover the expenses of permits and organisation (Utrecht).
- Address: start of the parade in Utrecht is at Lucasbolwerk (52.093977, 5.126874), a 10 min. skate from the central station or take one of the many buses and hop off at ‘Stadsschouwburg’.
- More info: the parades are not suitable for beginners. You have to know how to brake, sudden stops happen every now and again. Participating is at your own risk. Check with the respective organisations when the next skate parade is scheduled. Amsterdam has parades year-round, if weather permits. Utrecht has a summer edition only.
- Bring: skates or skeelers and protective gear. Want to rent a pair of inline skates? You may try Skate Dokter (Amsterdam). Otherwise see if you can borrow a pair, e.g. leave a message on the events’ Facebook page.