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4,700 take New Year's dip in North Sea at Ostend

20:52 04/01/2020

More than 4,700 people braved the 7°C water and joined the traditional New Year's dip in Ostend on Saturday afternoon.

Taking the plunge in the North Sea has been a tradition at the Belgian coastal resort on the first Saturday of the year since 1987.

A colourful crowd, many turning up in fancy dress, spent up to 15 minutes in the water, with several thousand spectators cheering them on from the sea wall.

This year's turnout was slightly higher than in 2019 - despite the strong, bitter wind, organisers said.

For safety reasons, bathers could only immerse themselves up to their knees. Each participant was treated to a bowl of soup and a glass of Jenever to warm up afterwards.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Written by The Bulletin