Let's Talk Dutch Weather: The Realities and How to Survive
When I was doing my Dutch classes some time ago, I learned a really funny thing: there are about 100 words to describe rain in the Netherlands!
Lekker weertje, hè? (Nice weather, noh?)
*2 hours later*
Wat een regen! (What is this rain!)
Talking about the weather is always a great converstation-starter. When I first moved to the Netherlands, this was my biggest adjustment. Coming from a tropical country with almost 365 days of sunshine, my first winter here had barely 50 days of it. Mostly cloudy, with wind, and rain.
Statistically, the Netherlands isn’t the wettest country, but it sure changes quickly, sometimes showing all four seasons in a day!
If you’re thinking of moving here and are unfamiliar with the hot topic of Dutch weather, read along my tips and how to survive.
1. Wear the right clothes
There’s a saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.
There’s nothing greater than investing in a nice, functional raincoat. You might need at least two: a war2. mer one for winter, and a lighter trench coat for spring and summer. I got mine from Maium which is a Dutch brand and understands the dilemmas of cycling in the rain (my raincoat transforms into a poncho!).
For winter, it can get chilly to the bones, not because temperatures drop -20C, but because the North Sea wind contributes to the real feel. It’s then essential for you to wear warm layers inside such as fleece, wool, or cashmere.
2. Always check Weather apps
Here in the Netherlands, we use either Buienradar or Buienalarm. It’s a good idea to always look at the hourly weather and not just the general forecast - because, you just never know when you might be stuck indoors for a while.
Even though the forecast promises sunshine, always, always try to bring a jacket as the weather always changes unpredictably. These weather apps don't always get it right!
In summer, the day can start really warm, and once the sun goes down, the wind chill becomes almost unbearable.
3. Take Vitamin D in winter
In most cases in Europe, winter blues are real. Especially in the Netherlands! Winters can be depressing because of the lack of sunshine and mostly gloomy days.
For some, it's the time of the year where we get SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Yup, there's such a thing! This can sadly disrupt our daily lives including a lack of motivation, changes in sleep patterns, increased irritability and sadness.
I've never experienced this until my first winter in the Netherlands. I went to the doctor and was recommended to take Vitamin D supplements.
Of course, this is not a cure-for-all, but it helped me nonetheless (whether it's a halo effect or not). Just comes to show how much sunshine we need in our lives!
4. Wear sunscreen in summer
As much as we need Vitamin D (which we get from the sun!), it can also be harmful for us during summer months here.
There's some proof that the amount of UV radiation in the Netherlands has increased in recent decades. In addition, the number of warm days has increased. Though that may seem like a good thing, it's also expected that exposure to UV radiation will increase because we're (naturally) engaging in more outdoor activities.
Therefore, always bring sunscreen whether it's just cycling through the city or going on a trip to the beach!
5. Just learn to live with it!
We usually complain about the weather here, but it is now part of our lives! Since moving to the Netherlands, I’ve never been so grateful for having sunshine days. And when it happens, we always have this attitude of making the most out of it - going to the beach, hanging outside, and enjoying a beer or two with friends.
On rainy or gloomydays, we cozy up and enjoy the comforts of our own home. And on extra windy days, well, just remember to ditch that umbrella (and maybe that bike).
Regardless, there are many reasons why people still choose to move to the Netherlands. As long as you got all these tips covered, you'll be feeling like a local in no time!
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