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Dutch weather

Dutch weather

The average Dutch person loves complaining about the weather in the Netherlands, but is the weather here really that fickle? What is the average temperature per season? And does it really rain that much in the Netherlands? Read on and find out!

What is the Dutch climate like?

The Netherlands enjoys a moderate maritime (or oceanic) climate. This type of climate generally features mild winters and cool summers. Precipitation, such as rain, is common throughout the year, which means there is no dry season.

Within the Netherlands, a distinction can be made between regional climates:

North vs South

On average, the northern provinces endure lower temperatures compared to the southern provinces. In summer, the southern provinces enjoy a warmer climate. Generally, the east of Brabant and the very north of Limburg are the warmest around this time of year.

Coastal provinces

In the autumn and winter months, the coastal provinces in the south-west, west and north-east have a milder climate than the east and the north-east of the Netherlands.

Generally, the coastal provinces also enjoy more hours of sunlight than the rest of the country. However, right after the summer and during the autumn, the coastal provinces experience the heaviest rain showers. These heavy rain showers are activated by the warm sea water.

Dutch weather per season

Dutch weather differs per season, although autumn and spring can be quite similar in terms of precipitation and temperature. 

Spring in the Netherlands

Astronomically, spring starts on March 20. However, meteorological spring lasts from March 1 until June 1 on the northern hemisphere.

Average temperature in spring

The average temperature in the Netherlands during spring is 9,5C. The amount of sun and rain during this time varies greatly. From 1981-2010, an average of 240,7mm of rain fell during spring in the Netherlands, and the sun shined for 314,2 hours. 

Coldest spring ever

The coldest spring recorded by the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) in the Netherlands since 1706 was the spring of 1962, with an average temperature of 6,7C. Looking at the top 10, the coldest springs occurred at the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. The coldest spring in this century took place in 2013 with an average of 7,4C.

  Year Lowest average temperature (°C)
1. 1962 6,7
2. 1955 6,8
3. 1917 6,9
4. 1958 7,0
5. 1941 7,0

Source: KNMI

Warmest spring ever

The warmest spring in the history of the Netherlands happened in 2007, with an average temperature of 11,7C. It is interesting to note that eight out of the ten warmest springs occurred in the 21st century, the exceptions being the springs of 1998 (no. 7) en 1999 (no. 10). 

  Year Highest average temperature (°C)
1. 2007 11,7
2. 2014 11,2
3. 2018 11,1
4. 2011 11,0
5. 2009 10,8

Source: KNMI

Dutch summer

Astronomically, summer starts on June 21. However, meteorological spring starts on June 1 and lasts until September 1 on the northern hemisphere.

Average summer temperature

Generally, Dutch summers are warm, but not too hot. The average temperature in the Netherlands during summer is 17,0C. From 1981-2010, the average amount of rain that fell in the Netherlands adds up to 219,6mm, whilst the average amount of sunshine comes to 587,6 hours.

Coldest summer ever

The coldest summer took place in 1907, with an average temperature of 14,1C. The top 10 of the coldest Dutch summers does not include any summers from the 21st century. In fact, the coldest summers took place during the first half of the 20th century, with eight summers taking place before 1930.

  Year Lowest average temperature (°C)
1. 1907 14,1
2. 1956 14,4
3. 1916 14,4
4. 1919 14,5
5. 1913 14,5

Source: KNMI

Warmest summer ever

The warmest summer ever recorded by the KNMI took place in 2003, with an average temperature of 18,6C. The top 10 of the warmest summers includes only one summer of the first half of the 20th century, namely the summer of 1947, when the average temperature was 18,0C. It seems 1947 was a year of extremes, as that year's winter was one of the coldest winters ever. 

  Year Highest average temperature (°C)
1. 2003 18,6
2. 2006 18,5
3. 1976 18,4
4. 1995 18,2
5. 1983 18,2

Source: KNMI

Autumn in the Netherlands

Astronomically, autumn starts on September 23. However, in the Netherlands, meteorological autumn starts on September 1 and ends on December 1.

Average autumn temperature

The average temperature in the Netherlands during autumn is 10,6C. Generally, autumn is the wettest season in the Netherlands, with November being the month with the most precipitation. However, on average (from 1981-2010), 240,7mm of rain falls during Dutch autumn, and people can enjoy 314,2 hours of sun this season. 

Coldest autumn ever

The coldest autumn ever recorded by the KNMI happened in 1952, with an average temperature of 7,6C. However, the first 25 years of the first half of the 20th century seemed to be particularly cold during autumn as the top 10 features seven years from this time period (1902, 1905, 1912, 1915, 1919, 1920, 1922, 1925).

  Year Lowest average temperature (°C)
1. 1952 7,6
2. 1919 7,6
3. 1905 7,7
4. 1915 7,8
5. 1922 7,9

Source: KNMI

Warmest autumn ever

The warmest autumn in the history of the Netherlands took place in 2006, with an average temperature of 13,6C. The top 10 warmest Dutch autumns features eight autumns that took place in the 21st century, with the exceptions being the autumns from 1999 (no. 7) and 1982 (no. 8). 

  Year Highest average temperature (°C)
1. 2006 13,6
2. 2014 12,5
3. 2005 12,0
4. 1915 7,8
5. 1922 7,9

Source: KNMI

Dutch winter

Astronomically, winter in the Netherlands starts on December 21. However, meteorological winter starts on December 1 and ends on March 1 on the northern hemisphere.

Average winter temperature

The average temperature in the Netherlands during winter is 3,4C. Generally, this season experiences the least hours of sunshine, which also makes it the coldest season. From 1981-2010, the country experienced 197,3 hours of sunshine on average in winter, whilst 201,2mm of rain fell.

Coldest winter ever

The coldest winter ever recorded by the KNMI happened in 1963, with an average temperature of -3,0C. However, it seems like the 1940s were especially cold, with four years from this decade appearing in the top 10 coldest Dutch winters, namely 1947 (no. 2), 1940 (no. 3), 1942 (no. 4) and 1941 (no. 10). 

  Year Lowest average temperature (°C)
1. 1963 -3,0
2. 1947 -2,4
3. 1940 -1,9
4. 1942 -1,6
5. 1929 -1,4

Source: KNMI

Warmest winter ever

The warmest winter ever recorded took place in 2007, with an average temperature of 6,5C. As you can see below, the entire top 3 of the top 10 warmest Dutch winters took place in the 21st century, as well as no. 9 (2008) and no. 10 (2000).

  Year Highest average temperature (°C)
1. 2007 6,5
2. 2016 6,3
3. 2014 6,0
4. 1990 6,0
5. 1989 5,6

Source: KNMI

How often does it rain in the Netherlands?

So, does it really rain that much in the Netherlands? One would think so since people love to complain about the weather here, but actually, it’s not that bad.

The average annual rainfall in the Netherlands is only 790mm. As a comparison, what some call the wettest place on earth, Maysynram in India, has an average annual rainfall of 11.871mm. And inside of Europe? Well, Crkvice in Montenegro receives around 4.600mm of rainfall each year, and Dalness in Scotland receives an average rainfall of 3.300mm each year.

So, why do people complain about the Dutch weather so much then? This might have something to do with the unpredictability of the weather here. There is no clear dry season or wet season. It rains all year long, however, the amount of rain that falls is nothing compared to what falls in, for example, the tropics.

Want to avoid the rain as much as possible? Avoid the Veluwe, Drenthe and the south of Limburg. These places are the wettest places in the Netherlands. 

Dutch weather: All-time records

Here are some interesting weather records:

Longest cold wave in the Netherlands

According to measurements from the KNMI, The Netherlands has had 33 cold waves since 1901. For a period to be called a cold wave, it needs to consist of at least five consecutive ice days (temperature lower than 0,0C), with at least three days of severe frost (temperature lower than -10,0C). The longest one took place in 1947 and lasted for 21 days.

The coldest Dutch day 

The coldest day in the Netherlands ever was measured on January 27 in 1942 by Jaap Langedijk in Winterswijk. That day it was -27,4C. It was said that a lot of people went to bed with their coats on that day.

Longest heat wave in Dutch history

For a period to be called a heat wave, it needs to consist of at least five consecutive summer days (25,0C or higher), with at least three tropical days (30,0C or higher). The Netherlands has experienced a total of 24 heat waves since 1901. The longest heat wave took place in 1975 and lasted for 18 days.

The hottest day in the Netherlands ever

The hottest day ever in the Netherlands was measured on August 23 in 1944 in Warnsveld. That day, it was 38,6C.

Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI)

The Koninklijk Nederlands Metereologosch Instituut (KNMI) or the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, is the national weather forecasting service in the Netherlands. The KNMI was founded in 1854 by Buys Ballot, and is located in the province of Utrecht, in De Bilt. Besides weather forecasting, the KNMI is responsible for the monitoring of climate changes and seismic activity.

Weather apps 

Since the weather in the Netherlands is fairly unpredictable, it is advisable to install a weather app on your phone.

Dutch weather apps

The most popular Dutch weather apps are:

Buienradar

Buienradar (roughly translated as rain radar) lets you track the rain in the Netherlands. The app can show you whether there is any rain coming to your location in the next two hours. Get it for Android or iPhone

Weeronline

Weeronline offers a rain radar, but it also offers a handy 14-day forecast, hay fever and UV radiation warnings. It can rate days according to activities, such as going to the beach, having a BBQ or skating as well. Get it for Android or iPhone.

Global weather apps

Here are some of the more popular weather apps, worldwide:

Accuweather

This handy app includes a RealFeel index (which suggests what the outdoor temperature feels like, rather than the actual temperature), plenty of graphs, maps, a radar and even video weather forecasts. Get it for Android or iPhone

The Weather Channel

Many people consider this their go-to app when it comes to weather and forecasts. You can get 36-hour and 10-day forecasts, including wind speed, humidity, UV index and visibility. Get it for Android or iPhone.

Weather forecast for Dutch cities

Since the Dutch weather can differ from region to region and from city to city, it's best to take a look at localised weather forecasts if you want to know whether you should take an umbrella with you or your sunglasses. Here are the weather forecasts for the largest Dutch cities:

Amsterdam weather

Are you visiting the country's capital? Want to know whether it's a better idea to stay indoors and maybe visit one of Amsterdam's many museums or if it's "safe" to explore this historic city with its charming canals by bike? Look no further! Here is the weather forecast for Amsterdam:

The Hague weather

Are you living in or visiting The Hague, the capital of the province of South Holland and the seat of the Dutch government? Want to know whether it's the perfect day to visit the beach in Scheveningen or if you are better off admiring Piet Mondriaan's works at the Gemeentemuseum? No need to look any further. Here is the weather forecast for The Hague:

Rotterdam weather

Rotterdam is the second largest Dutch city, and a hotspot for modern architecture. Want to know if it's going to be a good idea to stroll around the city, admiring its innovative buildings, or if it's a better idea to stay indoors? Here is the weather forecast for Rotterdam, to help you make your choice:

Utrecht weather

Did you know that Utrecht is one of the Netherlands' oldest cities, and is encircled by a medieval canal? If it's sunny, it's a great idea to explore the canal by paddle boat. Of course, rain is often on the menu in the Netherlands, so make sure you check this Utrecht weather forecast before you get in a boat:

Eindhoven weather

Renowned as the capital of Dutch industrial design, Eindhoven is home to a lot of expats, as it is many international companies. Want to know if it's a better idea to find an indoor activity or wander around the city? Find out what the weather in Eindhoven is like by checking out the following Eindhoven weather forecast:

Leiden weather

The birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden is a picturesque town that offers a myriad of indoor and outdoor activities. Is it sunny? Explore the city by foot or sit at one of the lovely terraces by the canals. Is it rainy instead? Visit one of Leiden's museums, such as Japan Museum Sieboldhuis or Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Check the Leiden weather forecast now, to see what's up:

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