Climate of Netherlands
Where is the country of Netherlands located? The Netherlands is a country in northwestern Europe. According to the Köppen system, the Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate (type Cfb), with relatively mild winters, mild summers and precipitation throughout the year. The Netherlands owes this climate to the influence of the North Sea. Another name for a temperate maritime climate is a temperate maritime climate.
Many Dutch people have the idea that the Netherlands has a very wet climate, but that is a misconception, which is mainly based on feelings and not on numbers. On average, precipitation falls in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail during 7% of the time in the Netherlands. That equates to approximately one hour and forty minutes of precipitation per day.
In total, there is an annual average of about 800 to 900 millimeters of precipitation. During extremely dry years the counter can locally remain below five hundred millimeters, in very wet years the precipitation sum can rise to no less than a thousand millimeters. Incidentally, on 8 March 2013, a precipitation record was set that can never be broken: for the first time since the weather figures were recorded, it has officially rained in De Bilt for all 24 hours of the day. This means that during each measurement (every ten minutes) at least 0.1 millimeters of precipitation was recorded.
The feeling that we live in a wet country is mainly fed by the unpredictability of the Dutch climate. We have no pronounced wet or dry periods and the chance of precipitation is present on a very large number of days. The number of days that our weathermen can almost guarantee that it will remain dry, seems to count on one hand. This unpredictability ensures that the Dutch have the feeling that it rains much more in the Netherlands than elsewhere.
There are several reasons for the fact that the weather in the Netherlands seems to be able to go in all directions. The main causes are the location by the sea, the lack of mountains and the fact that we often lie on a dividing line between warm and colder weather. The higher jet stream has an almost unlimited chance of supplying depressions from the west over the sea. The location of this jet stream has a lot of influence on the eventual weather we have and can cause us to be ravaged for weeks by the supply of depressions.
It can sometimes be quite windy in the Netherlands. Its location on the North Sea makes the Netherlands vulnerable to depressions brought in from the west. Deep depressions can cause strong winds. This is especially noticeable on the Dutch coast. Every now and then it comes to a storm. Contrary to popular belief, winter is the season when most storms occur. It can be very windy, especially in January and February. In February 2022, for example, it was a big hit. With three storms in six days, there was a so-called tripple storm. In a short time the storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin raged over the Netherlands. The last time that happened before that was in 1928. Twin storms are a little less rare.
During (severe) storms, it is mainly the wind gusts that cause damage. Wind speeds can reach more than 120 kilometers per hour during a gust. That’s harder than hurricane force. A real hurricane, with wind force 12 for a long time, has not yet occurred in the Netherlands.
Summer in the Netherlands
Dutch summers are generally changeable and unpredictable. There can also be a very erratic course of temperatures and weather within one summer. A warm and sunny June can be followed by a wet and gray July. Two weeks of bad summer weather can also just be followed by a serious heat wave. If you want a reasonably high degree of sun security on holiday and expect warm summer weather almost guaranteed, you should not book a holiday in the Netherlands. Holidaying in your own country means: adapting to the whims of the weather gods and it is often a matter of luck whether you get the weather image you want on holiday. You have the greatest chance of sun along the coast, especially in Zeeland, in the northern part of North Holland and on the Wadden Islands.
Due to climate change, summers in the Netherlands are getting warmer. This can be clearly seen in the number of weather records that have been broken in recent years during the warmest months. In particular, maximum temperature records are falling faster than ever before. What is particularly visible is that many summers in this century as a whole are above average warm. An average temperature of 1 to 2 degrees above ‘normal’ over the period June to August is a fairly common phenomenon.
The winters in the Netherlands are almost as unpredictable as the summers. In January, the daytime temperature can rise to well above ten degrees, but it can also freeze ten degrees during the day. The trend, especially in the last decade of the last century and the beginning of this century, is that winters are on average becoming slightly milder and that the chance of long periods of frost is decreasing. This is also noticeable in the number of days you can skate in the Netherlands. The number of winters that it is not possible to skate at all in large parts of the Netherlands is quite large these days.
The number of days per year that snowfall is observed varies from twenty in Zeeland and South Limburg to more than thirty in the northeast of the Netherlands. It is often insufficient to provide a seriously white landscape and if it is wintery white in the Netherlands, it is often of a fairly short duration. The main cause is that snowfall often happens when temperatures are just below freezing and it quite often heralds a period of slightly warmer weather (thaw). When it is really cold, there is almost always a dry flow from the east, whereby no precipitation is supplied.
The meteorological spring starts in the Netherlands on 1 March. Spring covers a total of three months: March, April and May. If you look at the climate statistics in the Netherlands, you will see that the average maximum temperature in this period rises from an average of 11 degrees in March to 18 degrees in May. If there is a season in which great contrasts can occur, it is spring. For example, if we look at the spring of 2021, we see an extremely high afternoon temperature of 23.8 degrees Celsius in De Bilt on March 31. This was record heat at the time. In North Brabant and Limburg, the summer limit of 25 degrees was reached in various places – unique for the month of March. This was due to a strong supply of warm air coming from the south all the way from the Sahara. A few days later the wind suddenly blew from the north. A low-pressure area above Scandinavia created a cold pit, which sent extremely cold polar air towards the Netherlands. The result was cool, wintry weather with strong winds. On April 7, 2021, a large part of the Netherlands even woke up with a layer of snow in the streets, with the mercury barely above freezing in many places. This shows how fickle spring can be in the Netherlands. The long-term averages here are clearly the result of a period in which the weather can go in all directions. On April 7, 2021, a large part of the Netherlands even woke up with a layer of snow in the streets, with the mercury barely above freezing in many places. This shows how fickle spring can be in the Netherlands. The long-term averages here are clearly the result of a period in which the weather can go in all directions. On April 7, 2021, a large part of the Netherlands even woke up with a layer of snow in the streets, with the mercury barely above freezing in many places. This shows how fickle spring can be in the Netherlands. The long-term averages here are clearly the result of a period in which the weather can go in all directions.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit the Netherlands
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to the Netherlands? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The name Netherlands is based on the flat landscape that dominates this small country. The Netherlands is located in the northwest of Europe. The weather is therefore partly determined by the influences of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It provides a moderate maritime climate with moderate gray winters and changeable summers in which there is room for warm and tropical days, but also the chance of cooler rainy days. Characteristic for the Dutch weather is that there can be regular and strong to very strong winds at the coastal areas. Especially in autumn and winter the wind can become stormy or storms can arise.
Best months for the Netherlands
Daily life in the Netherlands is geared to changeable weather. As a result, you can actually celebrate a holiday in the Netherlands every month of the year. There is, of course, a period in which the chance of good weather is greater in other periods. For the Netherlands this is approximately from May to September. This is the best time to travel for a holiday in the Netherlands. The maximum temperatures are on average between 17 and 24 degrees Celsius. May and June are two months in which the weather can actually go in all directions. Tropical heat is possible in July, but a rainy day in which the mercury barely rises above ten degrees is an extreme that you can still experience even in the summer month of June.
The winter months are gloomy in the Netherlands. Sometimes there are periods when the sun does not show itself for a few days. This happens at times when there is a strong westerly current that leads one depression after another. If it is very sunny in the winter, it is usually accompanied by cold.
Beach holiday in the Netherlands
The North Sea coast is popular with Dutch and foreign tourists. Germans in particular are charmed by the Dutch beaches, especially the Zeeland coast. Those who want to celebrate a sun holiday in the Netherlands should preferably do so during the warmest months of July and August. The chance of summer days is then greatest and the seawater is then somewhat warmed. With official seawater temperatures of 18 to 21 degrees it always takes some getting used to when you go into the water.