c. 1630-34; Oil on canvas, 25 x 37.5 cm; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
There are all sorts of things going on in this flooded river landscape. It seems as though everyone is out on the ice in the freezing cold. In the foreground kolf is being played and there are people skating everywhere. At the same time there are also people working: on the right someone is fishing for eels with a long spike and on the left of the foreground a workman is walking with a hay fork and waders over his shoulder. The view of the meadows is framed by buildings. In the distance a sort of fairy-tale castle looms up. On the left is a village and further up a small city can be seen. In the village the Dutch flag is flying on a long flagpole. Is this a celebration?
Kolf is a sport in which a ball is stuck with a kolf stick (a cross between a golf club and a hockey stick). The object is to hit the poles on the kolf pitch. Kolf was played both on land and on ice. For centuries, from the Middle Ages on, it was as popular in the Low Countries as football is today. West Friesland is the only place where kolf is still played.