Summer in Australia vs summer in the Netherlands

If you’ve grown up spending summer in the Netherlands and always yearned for a warmer year-round climate (I know you have), then perhaps the idea of visiting Australia has crossed your mind once or twice.

Most Dutchies or internationals I speak to are envious of the fact that the land Down Under is blessed with warm weather.

I never divulge all the other things that come with living in a country that, for the most part, is intolerably bloody hot all year round — wouldn’t want to burst their bubble.

But it made me think, for the first time ever, is summer really that different from country to country when you don’t count the climate?

If you’ve experienced even one summer in the Netherlands, you’d know they’re something to be cherished.

The grass is green, the trees have sprung fresh leaves, and the water in the canals has an almost magical glint around midday. The sun seems to linger in the air, and the daily pressures of life don’t have a seat at the table.

The temperature itself is like a warm embrace from an old friend with a fondness for woolly cardigans.

It’s as if the entire Dutch population has enthusiastically shaken off the weight of winter and spilt into the streets to celebrate the beginning of the festival season, long boozy afternoons, barbeques in the park, and gin fuelled cruises through the canals.

In Amsterdam and the rest of the country, we begin to gluttonously soak up the sun’s rays and shed our jeans and jackets in exchange for bikinis and board shorts.

The temperature: skin-tickling warmth versus soul-sizzling heat

The heat during summer in the Netherlands is pleasant enough, albeit fleeting and a little on the mild side — although less so in recent years.

READ MORE | How to beat the Dutch heat: 11 tips to keep your cool

There are hot days, but not to the severity of Australia. After a few months of cloud cover, it doesn’t take long to colour your skin and adapt to the warmth.

What’s the Dutchs’ favourite summer pleasure? Sitting on terrasjes! Image: Depositphotos

READ MORE | The ultimate guide to the best swimming pools in the Netherlands

Living in Australia, on the other hand, will require you to slip on a few UV-resistant layers of clothing, slop on SPF 60+ sunscreen and an Akubra because the land Down Under in summer feels like Satan’s sphincter after a bowl of Surinamese sambal.

In places such as Oodnadatta in South Australia, the temperature once hit 50 degrees Celsius. I kid you not, the roads started to melt, and the local water tank actually started boiling.

You could turn on the tap and get scolding hot water straight into the teacup, no kettle necessary. I’m sure there would have been a lot of complaining that day in the little town of Oodnadatta.

How we approach summer: pleasant appreciation vs. borderline disgust

How do the Dutch approach the sun-drenched months? I’ve found that they embrace summer in the Netherlands as if it were the last summer of their life.

This eagerness to spend every waking moment basking in the sun’s intoxicating presence is nothing short of admirable and a testament to just how much they truly appreciate it when that time of the year rolls around.

READ MORE | 8 huge differences between the Netherlands and Australia

While in Australia, “bugger me it’s hot” or “Jesus Christ how’s this bloody heat” are acceptable ways to address your elders, old primary school teachers or the town chaplain. Or pretty much just start a sentence from December to March.

We love to have a whine about how much we miss summer, but let me tell you, there are not enough curse words in the English or Dutch dictionary to convey the unpleasantness of your eleventh straight 33-degree day.

Getting from A to B: a leisurely cruise versus a one-way ticket to hell

During summer in the Netherlands, getting from A to B or visiting your friends on a soothing Dutch summer’s day is much more pleasant than in Australia.

Just jump on your bike and enjoy the cool breeze as it gently caresses your face and cycle around one of the many tree-lined streets that make up the main arteries in most towns and cities.

Sure, you’ll perspire a little in the early afternoon as you head off to your local bar, but it will be an innocent little bead of sweat that tickles your newly tanned skin ever so gently. Your bicycle or car seat also poses no danger.

READ MORE | 7 natural campsites in the Netherlands to enjoy this spring and summer

Unlike Australia, where you should prepare to receive 3rd-degree burns from the metal buckle as you sluggishly chuck your seatbelt on and climb into the car after seven-and-a-half minutes on the beach, that incidentally felt like six days in the Sahara.

Australians take to the beach on a hot summer day. Image: Depositphotos

A towel on the seat to prevent your skin from melting upon contact and oven mitts to help you touch the steering wheel also don’t go astray when it’s a scorcher.

And for those thinking about taking public transport, that’s laughable. Just try to enjoy yourself as the bus or train morphs before your very eyes into a fiery death carriage on wheels with a one-way ticket to the sweltering depths of hell.

The similarities between Australian and Dutch summers

But, if you’re able to look past the nocturnal cicadas, the flies, the sunburns, the bushfires, the flies, and the traditional “good afternoon” thunderstorm, plus the flies, it’s not all bad.

And if you dig a little deeper, summer in the Netherlands and in Australia is relatively similar.

What about the fact that we can all agree that there’s nearly nothing better than taking a stroll through the park and smelling that smoky scent of a BBQ on full blast.

Who’s up for a barbecue party at the park? Dutchies and Australians sure are! Image: Depositphotos

READ MORE | Roadtrips from the Netherlands to Germany: a guide to your summer getaways

It’s one of the things that I think makes these Australian and Dutch summer vibes so akin.

Or what about that seemingly widespread truth that this season also represents something more than just hot days and a chance to have a bit of a perve on the opposite sex in minimal clothing.

It’s that blissful feeling as memories of summers past wash over your worries and the anticipation of adventures to come with friends, both old and new.

No matter what it is that bloats your goat during summer in the Netherlands, I hope you just enjoy the weather wherever you are and have fun with friends and family whilst the sun is here.

Would you prefer a Dutch or Australian summer? Tell us in the comments below! 👇

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2020, and was fully updated in June 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:DutchReview

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  1. My origins are from ‘t Gooi and Amsterdam. At the age of 25 I moved to SE Qld in Australia. Australia is a continent and the climate is drastically different depending on where you live. Beaches are divine and in SE Qld where I live are safe and the ocean is warm. However, further up north crockodiles and a lack of surf (because of the reef) make those beaches very much unattractive. However, the western Australian coast is amazing. We have the most gorgeous rainforests, waterfalls and national parks. Where I live it is relevantly warm and I don’t have this relief you have in Holland of finely having some weeks without grey skies and cool temperatures. Yet, I have beautiful sunrises and sunsets every day. A great smorgasbords of cafes and restaurants that I can enjoy sitting out or inside. And in a nutshell, I wouldn’t want to change it for a thing. Brisbane is my home town now. It would be great to see more Dutchies move here! XO Michael


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