Weerspreuken: Dutch weather lore sayings about spring

Weerspreuken: Dutch weather lore sayings about spring

The spring is in full swing. The first flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping away in the morning and the pollen are making some of you sneeze.

The oral and written history of all lands is full of rhymes, sayings and adages that were once used to help determine the weather forecast. For a farmer who was trying to decide when to plant crops, or for ships waiting for the right moment to embark on a long journey, the weather that was ahead could spell the difference between success and failure.

What now sound like cute and funny rhymes about weather, once had an important role in preventing a failed harvest or a ship being lost at sea.

Traditional Dutch weather sayings

The Dutch language has a huge body of weerspreuken, or weather lore sayings, from a time before weathermen and weather apps. They often rhyme and were written in a way that was easy to memorise.

By remembering the cause and effect inside these weather sayings, people in the past could with some accuracy and reliability forecast what the weather would be like in the coming months based on the current weather. The global climate has undergone some significant changes in recent decades, but many of these saying still hold some truth.

Old Dutch spring weather lore

Zoveel nevels zich in maart vertonen, met zoveel onweer zal de zomer lonen.
As much fog as there is in March, there will be just as many thunderstorms in the summer.

Zoveel nevel in maart, zoveel regen na Pasen.
As much fog as there is in March, as much rain there will be after Easter.

Op de lentedag wind uit noord, blaast ze nog zeven weken voort.
If there is a northern wind on the day of spring (March 20), it will continue for seven more weeks.

Al brengt Maria Boodschap lente in het land, koude krijgt nog vaak de overhand.
Even if there is spring weather on March 25, there often will be a cold spell after.

Als het dondert in het dorre hout, blijft de hele zomer koud.
If it thunders in the dry wood, the whole summer will be cold.

Als het helder is op Sint Jozefdag, men een goed jaar verwachten mag.
If it is clear on St. Joseph day (March 19), one can expect a good year.

Als maart zacht is in wil, verwacht men een koude april.
If March is mild, April will be cold.

Als maart geeft april weer, april geeft maarts weer.
If March gives April weather, April will have March weather.

Als maart niet gaart en april niet wil, doet mei het voor allebei.
When March and April are a let-down, May does it for both.

Als vroege krokussen bloeien, zullen ze met koude stoeien.
When the crocuses flower early, they will fight the cold.

Bloeien de bomen tweemaal op een rij, zal de winter zich rekken tot mei.
When the trees flower twice in a row, the winter will stretch until May.

Als de spinnen vlijtig buiten weven, zullen wij mooi weer beleven.
If the spiders are diligently weaving outside, we will have good weather.

April klaar en rein, mei zal des te wilder zijn.
If April is clear and dry, May will be wilder.

Dondert het in de maand maart, in mei dekt de sneeuw de aard.
When it thunders in March, in May snow will cover the earth.

Op een droge april, een natte zomer volgen wil.
A dry April is followed by a wet summer.

Als in April de kevers ontstaan, dan zal mei van de kou vergaan.
If the beetles come up in April, there will be cold in May.

Noorden wind in april en mei, maakt augustus en september blij.
A northern wind in April and May, makes August and September happy.

Dutch spring-related sayings

Here are three of our favourite spring-related sayings:

Een zwaluw maakt de lente niet.
- Literal translation: One swallow does not make a spring.
- Meaning: It takes more than one instance of something to draw a general conclusion.

Het gras in de knieen hebben.
- Literal translation: Having grass in the knees.
- Meaning: Suffering from spring fatigue.

Een nieuwe lente, een nieuw geluid.
- Literal translation: A new spring, a new sound.
- Meaning: Experiencing something new.

Have you encountered any of these? Do you know any other seasonal proverbs that are related to spring?

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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