If you have been spending some time in the Netherlands, you have probably noticed how the Dutch love to talk about the Dutch weather. It’s an everyday topic of conversation that never seems to get dull. And that makes sense, because the Dutch weather tends to be ever-changing and highly unpredictable.
The Netherlands, with its long Noordzeekust (North Sea coast), has what is called a moderate marine climate. That means that the sea’s influence moderates the weather: it doesn’t get too cold during winter, nor too hot during summer, and the moisture in the air makes that it could basically rain at any given time throughout the year. What characterizes the seizoenen (seasons) in the Netherlands, then? Let’s find out!
The winters in the Netherlands are koud (cold) (around 3 degrees), but temperatures remain mostly just above freezing. There is generally an alternation between windy and rainy, or dull and foggy. Sometimes, though, the Dutch get lucky with temperatures remaining below freezing for a couple of days. As the country gets covered with snow and the typical canals freeze, the Dutch take out their schaatsen (ice skates_. Did you know that ice skating is a Dutch national sport? One of the Dutch prides is the Elfstedentocht, a long-distance tour skating event on natural ice which leads past eleven historical cities of the northern province of Friesland. The tour can be held only when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15 centimeters thick. The last Elfstedentocht ever held was in 1997, and some fear it might never happen again. Let’s hope it does! Because even if you can’t skate, it’s a great experience to go to the frozen water, enjoy the atmosphere and taste Dutch delicacies such as warme chocolade (hot chocolate), erwtensoep (pea soup) and maybe even drink a Berenburger or Oude Jenever (spirits). End the day by eating a stamppot (mashed potatoes with vegetables) and live like a real Dutchie!
The Dutch lente (spring) is a very careful season, with still cool temperatures (around 10 degrees). Very slowly and in the last month of spring, temperatures might rise up until 18 degrees. This season is known for blooming flowers, making it the best season to visit the well-known Dutch tulip fields, or the Keukenhof, a beautiful spring garden exhibition with millions of flowers. As soon as the sun comes out Dutch people love to sit on a terrace to drink a nice wit bier (white beer) and eat bitterballen ( typical Dutch deep-fried meat balls).
One thing is certain about Dutch zomer (summer): it is highly unpredictable. Some years, the country is covered with an oppressive heat, causing the large Dutch beaches to be entirely packed. The North Sea is then heated to about 19 degrees. Other years, such as the summer of 2021 Dutch summers can be highly disappointing. Dutch summer is generally the rainiest period of the year, diluting solar hours. For the few Dutch who choose to stay in the Netherlands during the zomervakantie (summer holiday), it always remains a surprise what their holiday will look like. Depending on the weather Dutch people love to eat salads (salads)but even in summer they like to eat their stamppot!
Autumn in the Netherlands is generally cold, cloudy, rainy and with frequent winds. But more than anything, the herfst (autumn) represents shorter days and longer nights, causing the Dutch to feel tired when autumn is getting started. Is autumn all about negatives? Absolutely not! This is the season to make a herfstwandeling (autumnal walk) because of the vibrant colors of the trees in this season. Also, this season is all about staying inside and eat Dutch delicacies such as appeltaart (apple pie) and speculaas (typical Dutch spiced biscuit).
No wonder the Dutch weather is a hot topic. It is as fickle and unpredictable as can be. Every single ray of sun is an excuse to head outside to sit on a terrace or lie in a park, preferably with only a t-shirt even though the temperature requires a jacket. On the other side, the Dutch manage rainy conditions like no other: regenpakken, regenbroeken, paraplu’s and poncho’s are closet staples for every Dutchie. And believe us: despite the totally unflattering appearance of them, you will be heading to the store to buy these essential items very soon if you haven’t done so already!
Did you enjoy finding out about the highly unpredictable Dutch weather traits? And would you like to learn more about the Netherlands, its culture and its language? The diverse Dutch language courses from our partner Taalthuis not only make you familiar with the Dutch language, but also give you a taste of the culture and peculiarities that the Netherlands has to offer. Check out our Dutch language course offer and pick your favorite!