Of all sports, Football Soccer has the largest following in the Netherlands, with field hockey and volleyball as the second and third most popular team sports. Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely played individual sports. Cricket is considered a growing sport in the Netherlands.
Another popular sport in the Netherlands is ice skating. Whenever the temperature drops below zero for several days in a row and the lakes start to freeze over, the Dutch become excited as it means there's a chance for an ‘Elfstedentocht’, a traditional ice skating tour which passes eleven cities in the North of the Netherlands. The tour, almost 200 km in length, stretches over frozen canals, rivers and lakes between eleven historic Frisian cities, amongst which Leeuwarden. Any time the weather allows it, this tour is held. The last editions of the Elfstedentocht were held in 1985, 1986 and 1997. The tour would currently feature about 15,000 amateur skaters taking part, which demands high quality ice. The regulations require that the ice must be (and remain at) a minimum thickness of 15 centimetres during the entire tour, in order for the race to take place.
The Dutch also love to watch ice skating on television.