If you have ever visited, or lived (or still live) in the Netherlands, then you know that the weather can be a bit hit and miss. Whether it’s raining, windy, stormy, freezing, snowing, or raining again; there always seems to be something to complain about.
Some people say that it rains so much here because the House of Orange arranged it with the powers-that-be so that Dutch people have something to talk about! But why does it rain so much in the Netherlands? And does it actually rain that much more than other places? Seriously, what is up with the weather in the Netherlands?! Let’s find out!
The Dutch climate
As you probably know, the Netherlands is located next to the North Sea, and the wind direction usually blows southwest, which means it has what’s known as a ‘moderate maritime climate’. This means that Holland experiences warm (but not hot) summers and fairly mild winters, without any really big temperature changes during the seasons (which is certainly not how it feels to me during winter, or summer for that matter!) But compared to places such as say, Canada, the Netherlands doesn’t actually get that cold.
Rain in the Netherlands
While it seems like it rains a lot in the Netherlands, in actuality, the average rainfall isn’t that high. The main reason that it sure seems to rain so much is that the weather can be very unpredictable and the lack of mountains in the Netherlands means there is nothing to block any incoming depressions from the sea. The Netherlands actually only receives about 700 millimetres of rainfall a year, which is fairly similar to places such as San Antonio, Texas (just without any of the really extreme temperature changes, floods, and tornadoes)!
But while I can tell you that it doesn’t actually rain that much here, it doesn’t change the fact that the unpredictability of the weather can still be annoying. So even if the weather seems nice and sunny in the morning, by the afternoon it might be raining; so you always need to take an umbrella or jacket just in case. And when you go out during the middle of summer, expecting a lovely warm sunny day, but instead you get RAIN (again!) it sure does feel like it’s always raining!
How to survive the weather in the Netherlands
While it might not rain a huge amount, the rainfall does come fairly often in small parts. And even those small parts can be annoying when you are trying to get to work or school, sight-see or travel around the country. Our top tips for surviving the Dutch rain?
- Always carry a decent umbrella with you — preferably one small enough to fit in a bag but strong enough not to turn inside out as soon as it’s windy; which it also usually is here in the Netherlands!
- If you’re getting into the Dutch habit of biking everywhere, make sure you cover your bike seat with a plastic bag (held on with a rubber band) when you’re leaving it outside — this will save you having a wet behind when you have to get back on it after a rain shower!
- Check the weather apps, but don’t always trust them. Sometimes mine has told me it’s snowing when it’s sunny, so at least look outside as well.
- If it is raining (or pouring) take advantage of some of the country’s great indoor attractions: such as museums, art galleries, and breweries. Every major city in the Netherlands like Amsterdam, Leiden, and Tilburg all have great museums you can go to!
And, for more tips on surviving the Dutch weather, and to learn some new Dutch words about rain, make sure you watch this amusing video by the Survival Guide to the Dutch!
Now when your friends ask why does it rain so much in the Netherlands? You’ll know what to tell them 😉 How do you survive the weather here? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image:Ethan Hu/Unsplash
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018, and was fully updated in September 2020 for your reading pleasure.