Amsterdam is known for windy and rainy weather. Is it all that bad? We asked Daria, current student to tell us what she thinks and how the weather matches her expectations.
Disclaimer: I describe my personal perception of the weather in Amsterdam, which is based on the weather in my home country (humid continental climate). You can experience Dutch weather differently depending on where you lived before.
One of the things I was preparing myself for before coming to the Netherlands was the climate. Amsterdam is close to the sea and the land is very flat - I expected it to be rainy, windy and cold. So, I put an umbrella, waterproof jackets and shoes and multiple warm clothes in my suitcase. It has been eight months since I arrived in Amsterdam, and now I can compare my expectations and the reality.
Is it rainy here? Yes, but less than I expected. There have been many rainfalls during the year - in Amsterdam, there are about 190 rainy days within a year. However, most of the time the rains were weak, rainy clouds were drifting above only some parts of the city, and I was lucky not to get under them. Weather forecast apps like drops and buienradar helped wait for the rain out. Even if I got under the rain, getting the hood on was enough to stay dry. Besides, I had online or hybrid classes and my schedule allowed me to stay home on very rainy days. During the study year, there were only two days when I needed to get to campus and it was raining heavily. On those days I was happy to have my waterproof clothes with me. As for the umbrella, I did not use it at all - strong winds make umbrellas quite useless. And it is a very different story.
Is it windy here? Oh yes. During winter there are storms when the wind is so strong that it is dangerous to be outside. I once saw how it was raining horizontally - that is how strong the wind was. At that moment I was especially happy to have classes online. Even in warm periods like now, in the late spring, it can be quite windy. Having a picnic outside can make you nervous because your plastic cups tend to fly away all the time. However, here it is important to remind: that perception is subjective. My friend from Indonesia thinks that the Dutch weather is not windy in comparison to his motherland.
Is it cold here? Yes, but only in winter and not much. I got used to winters with -30°C back home, while in Amsterdam the coldest weather is around 0°C (though winds can make it feel like -5°C). Winter coat, warm shoes, hat, scarf, and gloves make the cold weather more than bearable. Snowfalls are rare and the snow is often dry, so it is not the best place for making a snowman or playing snowballs. Ice-skating, however, is still an option: there are plenty of ice rinks, and it is also sometimes possible to skate on the canal. All in all, winter in Amsterdam requires some warm clothes, but it is not very cold.
To end on a positive note, I now will turn to the brighter side: Can it be nice in Amsterdam? Yes! Amsterdam can be very sunny and warm: late spring, summer, and early autumn are wonderful (except for rainy days). It is often sunny with 20-25°C and winds make it nice instead of hot. You can enjoy good weather while walking in multiple parks around the city or going to the beach. While the air is nice and warm, the water temperature does not usually go above 20°C. In August the average water temperature is around 18°C. And don’t forget your sunscreen: even though the average UV is around 3-4, it can get higher and you won’t feel it because of cloudy or windy weather. You can get a sunburn in Amsterdam, so take care!
To sum up, I think that the weather in Amsterdam is fine. My lowered expectations played the role. I was ready for the worst, and I am happy about every sunny (or, at least, not rainy) day. For everyone coming here, I recommend comparing statistics between Amsterdam and your home country: this blog has multiple references to sources of information, but you can also find them on the internet. Waterproof clothes are a must-have, but other details may vary depending on what you are used to.