A winter heatwave? The Netherlands shocked by record temperatures

A winter heatwave? The Netherlands shocked by record temperatures

After December 2022 brought record highs, 2023 in the Netherlands has been off to an unnaturally warm start, recording temperatures of between 10 and 14 degrees throughout the first week of January - twice as warm as is normal for this time of year. Meteorologists are now referring to this unseasonably warm weather as a winter heatwave. 

The Netherlands records warmest December day on New Year's Eve

The Netherlands has certainly seen some pretty unusual weather over the past couple of days. After a bitingly cold front brought temperatures well below freezing in mid-December, a recent shift has meant the country has instead recorded unseasonably warm temperatures so far in January.

With a high of 15,5 degrees recorded at the base of the Dutch Weather Institute (KNMI) in De Bilt on December 31, 2022, the Netherlands recorded its warmest New Year’s Eve and the warmest December day the country has ever seen. 

Unseasonably warm in January - is this another heatwave?

The warm weather has continued into the new year. With 2023 well underway, meteorologists have observed that the temperatures seen so far this year have been consistently above average, meaning this week could go down as the warmest first week of January ever. 

But we won’t know this for sure just yet: “We don't do weekly records in meteorology,” Weerplaza’s Roosmarijn Knol told NU. “Only later can we assess how warm this period has been.” Knol did, however, say it would be appropriate to refer to this phenomenon as a winter heatwave.

"This warm period has no consequences for ordinary citizens. It is not extremely cold or very hot… We are not puffing from the heat and we are not freezing to death. That is why little attention is paid to it,” she went on to explain.

2023 already breaking weather records across Europe

The Netherlands isn’t the only country facing unseasonable weather this winter; in fact, temperature records are being broken across Europe. 

Parts of France and Spain saw temperatures reach over 24 degrees this week, while ski resorts in Switzerland are facing an alarming lack of snow after temperatures climbed to 20 degrees on New Year’s Day. In fact, according to The Guardian, “only Norway, Britain, Ireland, Italy and the south-east Mediterranean [have] posted no records.”

Thumb: hans engbers via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

Read more



Leave a comment