The ice tunnel is a modern and sustainable way of recreational skating. This covered 400-meter track, with an ice hockey and curling rink and catering facilities, has been one of the most visited attractions in Rotterdam since 2013. Compared to a traditional ice rink, the ice tunnel has significantly lower construction costs, lower energy consumption and can be used multifunctionally.
In 2023, the Province of Drenthe also decides to start a study into the feasibility of an ice tunnel in the province. Hypercube has carried out a Quick scan for this purpose, consisting of an analysis of the feasibility and exploitation of the ice tunnel, and an analysis of the most suitable locations in the province.
Hypercube started conversations with the initiators of such an ice tunnel, collecting relevant data such as financial statements, location requirements and visitor data. In addition, data was requested from the KNSB to gain insight into the skating needs in Drenthe and the surrounding area. On this basis, the catchment areas of twelve potential areas in four different municipalities were examined. The catchment area is influenced by factors such as the number of residents in the area, accessibility, alternative recreational options, and the distance to other ice rinks. The Drenthe municipalities where the most visitors are expected to come have been approached to gauge their interest and discuss possible locations.
Business cases were then drawn up for the locations where the relevant municipalities have indicated that they are open to further research. The integral business case provides insight into the establishment costs of the property, including installations, the annual operation during the first twenty years, and the distribution of investment and financing between public and private parties involved. In addition, the energy section, in which expert knowledge has been consulted, delves deeper into possible energy-saving options to reduce housing costs.
The research has shown that a covered ice tunnel in the Province of Drenthe is feasible, provided that the province and municipality are prepared to make a significant contribution to the construction costs. Assen and Meppel have been identified as the most suitable locations. Meppel is estimated to have the most potential visitors: 95,000 to 117,000 per year.