During the opening ceremony of the current Winter Olympics, NBC presenter Katie Couric commented the following when the delegation from the Netherlands was making their rounds through the stadium:
It is probably not a news flash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speed skating. All but five of the 110 medals they’ve won have been on the speed skating oval. Now, ‘Why are they so good?’ you may be asking yourselves. Because skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam which sits at sea level. As you all know, it has lots of canals that can freeze in the winters. So, for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other, and also to have fun.
(source: Business Insider)
The article mentions it's bogus; I'm Dutch, and while I do like skating on natural ice, I've never used it to travel and I do not know anyone who did either. Also, most winters the ice doesn't even get thick enough to skate except on rinks and ponds.
I've heard this particular myth before, and I was wondering if there's anything known about its origins; who coined it, or where was it mentioned first?