Our daughter has taken to ice skating in a big way and raised the question of where the sport originated. Google tells us that pre-historic types strapped bones to their feet and trekked across ice with these and some sort of ur-ski poles. Sounds more utilitarian than anything else. As far as free form goes, it was the Dutch who came up with the idea of metal blades and real boots some time in the thirteenth century.
What you see here is the first visual representation of ice-skates. The girl in blue is named Lidwina, from the Dutch town of Schiedam, near Rotterdam. Her father had come from a family that had once been rich and respected but fallen on hard times; her mother had never known any but poverty. Together these two produced nine children, one of them Lidwina, who took an early and serious interest in matters religious. Continue reading