Sadly, the Netherlands simply does not have the most exciting climate! Granted, it does deliver a few truly glorious winter and summer days but, unfortunately, not many. This can be hard to take for those who have not grown up here (and even for those who have!).

Maritime Climate

Thanks to its location, right on the North Sea, the Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate. This means relatively mild winters and summers and rain all year round. The Dutch believe that it rains a lot here, but statistics say differently. Approximately 7 percent of the time, there is some type of precipitation, such as rain, snow or hail, which translates into 100 minutes of precipitation a day, or 700–800 mm a year. So, it actually just feels as if it is always raining, because barely a day goes by when the meteorologists can guarantee that it won’t rain. This does not mean it will.


Surviving the winter blues

So, how do you survive? Step one is to simply accept the facts, rather than fighting them or hoping for better.

As for the summers, you must simply make a choice: either you go and find a place where the sun is guaranteed to shine (home?), or you decide you want to see more of the country and take the weather as it comes. As for the winters; December is easy. This is the holiday season of lights and candles! They will surely brighten your spirits.

And what about January, February and March? If you are not off skiing or vacationing, this is a good time to light up that sitting room fire (if you have one) and settle down with a good book. It is also an opportunity to get together with friends, eat some good hearty meals, turn on all the lights, and splash a bit of color on your walls to liven things up. In short, go in search of, or create some of your own, gezelligheid! Be sure to spend a lot of time by the window as well. Although this will leave you exposed to the gray winter skies, it will give you access to whatever sunlight is on offer too. Whenever the sun comes out, bathe in it! It is an essential ingredient for combating those winter blues.

Measures Against Flooding

The country’s most famous measure against flooding is the Delta Works. Although the plans to make them were already on the table, they are considered to be the direct consequence of the storm of 1953. They were created to protect the provinces of Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant. Construction started towards the end of the 1960s, was completed in 1986 and cost approximately 2.5 billion euros. They are supposed to reduce the chances of a flood recurring to just once every 4,000 years. The American Society of Civil Engineers have declared these works one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Another large-scale measure is the relocation of the dikes. This is meant to broaden the Waal River (North of Nijmegen city center) and the Hollandse IJsselkering. It is also designed to protect the lowest part of the Netherlands, which is located 6.76 m below NAP. On average, water levels cause the two 480-ton valves to be lowered into the river three times a year.

Side Note

  • Average daytime temperature in winter: 2 – 6o C
  • Average daytime temperature in summer: 17 – 20 C
  • The winter of 2015–2016 was the warmest in 300 years, with an average temperature of 9.9 o C
  • Since 1901, dreams of a White Christmas have come true 29 times
  • Since 1910, there have been 61 storms with winds between 90 and 122 km/h
  • Between now and 2085, the sea level can rise anywhere between 25 and 85 cm
  • An unbeatable record was set on March 8, 2013, when it rained a solid 24 hours
  • The Netherlands has 1,500 hours of sunshine a year

Useful links
Weather info in Dutch:
Rain Forecast:
Weather info in English:
Weather forecast:

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