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How to make the most of the Dutch summer

Coming from Belgium, I wasn’t really listening to what everyone was telling me about the Dutch summer: how bad it was, how little the sun has shined, and how much it could rain. At the moment the sun is out in full force and this weekend the temperature drops to a measily 11 degrees Celsius. So what to do this Dutch summer; or how to go from one extreme to the other?

Dutch summer

Yet we keep complaining but after all we do love talking about the weather, and if there’s one thing we can all learn, it’s how to make the most of the Dutch summer.

Stuff to do in actual summer

If I say ‘summer’ everyone thinks of warm and sunny days, so let’s start with what you can do to enjoy the sun in the Netherlands. After a bit of preparation, you should be ready for the following:

  • Classic but a must-do: finish work on time or earlier and head to a terrace. Beer, wine and bitterballen are waiting for you and the vrijmibo will never be so gezellig. Perfect time to chat up with colleagues in a casual environment, to catch up with friends and/or to work on your tan. Gotta enjoy every single minute of sun.
  • Go to the supermarket, get a crate of beer, a pack of sausages, send a message to your friends and meet up in the park: it’s barbecue time! Turn up the volume, throw the meat on the barbie and what started as a small get together with a couple of people will soon end up as a big party.

Dutch summer

  • Dutchies love festivals and a proper Dutch summer wouldn’t be the same without going wild (read using drugs) at a festival: Pinkpop, Awakenings, Lowlands, Mysteryland, the list is long. If music is not your thing, well you still have cultural and food festivals; different atmosphere but perfect to enjoy the good weather.
  • You’ve surely noticed already but a typical sunny day in the Netherlands is not complete if you’re not on a boat. If you’re lucky, you’ll own a boat, or your friend/uncle/cousin/acquaintance (choose as appropriate) will and you don’t have to worry. But if you/they don’t, rent a boat! The recipe is identical: friends, drinks, food, and music. It cannot go wrong (unless you fall in the canal, or jump for a quick dip).

bateau 500

  • Finally, if you’d rather stay on land, hop on your bicycle. A trip to the beach, to Kinderdijk (windmills paradise), to the countryside (hi cows and sheep),…In the Netherlands, you can go anywhere you like with your bike.

Dutch summer

What to do in the Netherlands when it rains

But I can’t only talk about what to do when the sun’s shining, we’re in the Netherlands after all, gotta take the rain into account. So if it’s raining cats and dogs, don’t lose hope, your summer isn’t ruined (yet)!

  • I felt like starting with a cultural activity but, let’s be honest, the first thing we do is slouching on the sofa/bed binge watching series. Rainy weather makes the perfect opportunity to catch up with the latest episodes or to watch again your favourite series. If you want to make it a bit more Dutch, turn on the TV to watch Boer Zoekt Vrouw or some similar (bad?) show.
  • Take the previous activity and if you were lucky with the red-pants-gel-haired-vikings, you’ll end up with some nice cuddling sessions under the blankets (before/while/after binge watching), and if not…well, call your besties, swap series by chicks movies and get some ice cream. It should do the trick, and at least you’ll think about something else than the crappy weather (and lack of boyfriend).
Dutch summer
Yep, heavy rain in July
  • If you still feel like getting out of the house despite the wind and the rain, head to the museums. Modern art, Dutch golden age of painting, fashion, history, photography, or even weed and sex: there’s something for every taste. Amsterdam only counts more than 60 museums!
  • As a girl, I’d say you don’t need an excuse to go shopping, but if you needed one, rainy weather it is. And combine it with a visit to that newly opened cafe/bar/restaurant. After all, as long as you’re inside, that’s all that matters!

Dutch summer

In short, we have to enjoy every bit of sun, make the most of these few days, and see the bright side of the non-existing Dutch summer!



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