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History of the Zwaantjes Roller Club (ZRC)
The region of Vlaanderen (Flanders) in Belgium is well known
for its canals, beautiful flat landscapes, and rich cultural heritage
in art, music and architecture, but not many people outside of skating know
it is also the home of one of the oldest speed roller
skating clubs in the world.
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Zwaantjes Roller Club (ZRC) is centered in the village of
the Dutch speaking Belgian seaport town
of Ostend (Oostende in Flemish and Dutch). Ostend is a fashionable summer
resort town, and it is also a harbor for ferrys crossing
to the English port of Dover.
The Club in 1962
The club was founded in 1962, when a youth organization
from the Village of Zandvoorde was organizing an annual
event, and decided to include roller skating.
A club from Wetteren was asked to give a skating demonstration, and
they held a small competition for
the local youth. The event was very successful, and the local skaters
decided to form a new speed roller skating club centered
in the village of Zandvoorde.
The Club Today
This club is still going very strong today and it still organizes an annual
speedskating event each year known as the
Grote Prijs van Vlaanderen Inline Skating (Flanders Grand Prix of Inline
This event lasts 3 days, it takes place on a banked speed
skating track in the village of Zandvoorde, and the 2002 event was its 35th anniversary.
The Grote Prijs van Vlaanderen,
which started out as a small event to get the youth
of Vlaanderen interested in skating,
the largest international speedskating event in Belgium, and it
welcomes athletes from all over Europe and the rest of the world.
Host of the World Championships
The ZRC has also organized several other international speed
skating events in
the last few years, including four European Championships and three World
Championships. The most recent world champions in Belgium took
place in 2002.
1979 | European Championships - Senior
1981 | World Senior Championships
1987 | European Senior Championships
1991 | World Senior Championships
1995 | European Junior Championships
1999 | European Senior and Junior Championships
World Senior Championships
The Village of Zandvoorde Supports the Club
The Zandvoorde Roller Club believes that their greatest strength
lies in the people of Zandvoorde Village, who view the club events
as a boost to their community. The villagers are always willing to
provide manpower and other types support whenever it is needed.
The club events also receive a great deal of support from major and
local politicians in the area, because tourism is very important
to the City of Ostend.
The State of Inline Skating in Belgium
Inline skating in Belgium is still a small sport, and many
skaters do not have a skating club in their area. Because there are
so few clubs in Belgium, skating receives almost no press
coverage, and it is difficult to find sponsors for skaters and events.
The small number of clubs and the lack of press coverage also mean
it is never easy for the club to get enough funding to
support the lodging requirements
of all the international athletes who participate in their events.
Flanders Grand Prix + Visitors Guides
Zandvoorde Roller Club (ZRC)
ADDRESS: Wezellaan 29, 8400 Ostend Belgium
PHONE ON THE TRACK: 00-32-(0)59-26.88.86
FAX: 00-32- (0) 59.25.06.90
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