Kramer, bidding for his sixth title in seven years, ranked seventh after the opening event, the 500m, as Poland's Konrad Niedzwiedzki posted the fastest time for the second year running.
However the Dutchman was by far the quickest in the 5000m, the event in which he is the reigning Olympic champion, to build a lead of 0.261points and 0.79seconds going into the final two events.
Just like he did in 2012 and 2011, Niedzwiedzki won the 500m to lead Polish teammate Zbigniew Brodka by 0.10seconds with Havard Bokko third and Jan Blokhuijsen fourth.
Kramer was down in joint seventh with David Andersson, 0.77 behind, but is no stranger to bouncing back in the 5000m having been 12th at the same stage last year before taking the lead next time out.
He clocked 6:12.55minutes to jump into first place, almost six seconds quicker than Dutch teammate Blokhuijsen who himself moved from fourth into second with his second-place finish.
Sverre Lunde Pedersen jumped from ninth to fourth, just behind Bokko who maintained third despite finishing seventh, after clocking 6:19.07 for the third quickest time.
Ivan Skobrev, the 2011 champion, moved into fifth with the fifth fastest effort while Niedzwiedzki dropped to sixth after placing 13th with Brodka also falling to ninth after coming in a place behind.
History would now suggest that a sixth European allround title is Kramer's to lose having gone on to win following the 1500m on Saturday and 10,000m on Sunday from a similar position last year.
- Sports & Recreation