Everything you have always wanted to know about ice sculptures

Almost everyone has ever made a snowman but what about the professional images at the Dutch Ice Sculptures Festival? We explain it!

What is a ice artwork?

Ever made something with ice? The ice artists of the festival do. They have already won a lot of prizes and are now showing their skills in Zwolle. They are actually just sculptors. But they do not use stone or marble but a lot of ice and snow.

What is actually ice?

Literally, ice is the solid phase of water. This solid form only occurs when the water is frozen. But because the conditions in which the water freezes differ, there are also different types of ice. The temperature of the ice and the pressure that is exerted determine the type of ice. The lower the air content in the ice, the more the color changes from white to blue or blue-green. That is why the color of fresh snow is white and that of glacier ice is often blue. We use homemade ice cream for the construction of our ice sculptures. The large blocks of ice are about 2 meters high, 1.20 meters wide and 50 centimeters deep. This ice has a very nice color and is crystal clear. The production of the ice cream takes place at our foreign partner.

What is a snow artwork?

Who has not thrown snowballs? That is already the simplest form of a snow artwork, also called snow sculpture. A little more knowledge and technology is needed for building a snowman. But what is put to snow sculptures during the Ice Sculptures Festival are snow sculptures as art form. The sometimes high snow figures are built by a team of international snow artists with extensive experience and technical qualities.

What is actually snow?

Snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals, most of which are branched (think of the symbol for ice). There are many different types of snow crystals. But besides natural snow it is also possible to make snow yourself. Because we need large amounts of snow and it is not snow-secure in winter, we use homemade snow. The snow is made from flake ice, which is ground very finely by a 'snowcrusher', so that powder snow is created, as it were. This is then blown into the thermal tent with the help of a snow cannon (a so-called 'snow blower').

How does everything stay on temperature?

You are in a thermal room, which is specially insulated. As a result, there is a constant temperature that is equal to the temperature in a freezing hall (-8 to 10 ° C). In this room there are cooling systems that blow the air upwards along the wall, so that it cools down and cools down again as cool air. In this way, the images, regardless of the weather outside, can be kept for a long time.

What is the theme of the ice sculpture exhibition this year?

The theme of the Dutch Ice Sculptures Festival this year is: "World Famous Stories". The best ice-cream artists from around the world come to Zwolle where they work in a 1.200 m2 freezer hall with 275,000 kilos of ice and 275,000 kilos of snow. In this way they translate the story theme in ice and snow sculptures up to 6 meters high. "Special effects" with light, sound and projection make the images even more magical. Romeo and Juliet, the Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and many more stories are brought to life cold-free. Also check out the theme page.