has a maritime climate, receiving all four seasons with mild summers and cool
winters. Rainfall is moderate, falling frequently at all times of the year and
so damp, grey conditions prevail for much of the time. The weather is generally
quite unpredictable from moment to moment. The country is almost entirely flat
and low lying resulting in little regional climatic variation. It also makes
the country highly susceptible to flooding and as such the Netherlands has many manmade hills and dikes,
notably the Delta Project which was undertaken to protect Zeeland
and is one of the largest and most complicated feats of modern engineering. The
Netherlands sits on the
northwest coast of Europe and shares borders with Belgium,
Germany and the North Sea. It is often mistakenly called Holland.
Summer, from June till mid September, is very mild with
average high temperatures around 20°C creeping up to a
peak of 22°C in July and August. Night time lows around 12°C require an extra layer. Late spring and early summer
is the Netherlands’
sunniest period; the sun stays out for an average of six hours per day, but
conditions are very changeable and these six hours can be shared out between
days of endless sunshine and days of interminable grey. June tends to be the
wettest month in the year. Rain in the Netherlands is always moderate in
terms of how much rain actually falls, but immoderate in frequency, falling for
over half of the days in the year. The period of increased rain in early summer
often causes floods. After June rainfall lessens.
Autumn, from August till November, only sees temperatures
above 20°C at the very beginning of the season. The
average high temperature drops from around 19°C in September, to 14°C in
October and 9°C in November. Night time lows of 10°C in September get down to
3°C in November and by the end of the season nights can get close to freezing. The
sun becomes increasingly shy and by the end of the season only shows itself for
around two hours each day. Areas further inland tend to get slightly cooler
slightly quicker, but the difference is only of about 2°C at the most.
Winter, from December till mid March,
is usually very mild for the country’s latitude, seeing only short frosts and
almost no snow. However, every few years it becomes bitterly cold and the
abundant water all over the country freezes; it becomes possible to skate from
one village to the next on shallow lakes and canals. Generally, the temperature
does not fall below freezing for long. The average high temperature lingers
around 5°C for most of the season, while the average low temperature drops from
1°C in December, to 0°C in January and February, before slipping back above
freezing in March. Precipitation increases slightly at the beginning of the
season then falls off again. The sun becomes hermitic; only one hour of
sunshine can be glimpsed between the clouds per day.
Spring, from mid March till May, is actually the driest
season in the Netherlands.
However, rain is, as ever, frequent if very light. Many mornings see the
landscape shrouded in light mist, sometimes developing into thick fog; but the
sun gets tends to burn off any condensation by midday. The sun comes out for
longer and temperatures increase as the season progresses. Across the country
the average high temperature stays under 10°C for most of
March. By April the average high climbs above 10°C and steadily increases to an
average of 17°C in May. Night time lows climb just above freezing at the
beginning of the season; March has an average low temperature of 2°C which
climbs to 4°C in April and 8°C in May. Coastal areas tend to see slightly more
sun than inward regions.
Mid to late summer is probably the best time to visit the
Netherlands as low-ish levels of rainfall coincide with acceptable levels of
sunshine and it is pleasantly warm in the day time. However, rainfall is
moderate and grey skies are the norm all year round; temperatures never reach
extremes of hot or cold so no season is unbearable or optimal. Unpredictable
and often gloomy weather should not put you off visiting the Netherlands.
The charms of Amsterdam’s red light district, The Hague’s Van Gogh museum and Rotterdam’s postmodern architecture are not
entirely reliant on clear skies and warmth.
owes its mild climate to its abundance of water, long North Sea Coast,
location in the northern hemisphere and to its low and flat topography. The
prevailing winds from the North Sea blow in
from the southwest bringing precipitation and as there are no natural barriers
in the country precipitation falls uniformly, and not in great quantity, at all
times. The wind also has a cooling effect across the country. The indecisive
nature of the weather from moment to moment can also be attributed to the lack
of barriers to wind, as weather systems from every direction easily converge
over the country. The numerous rivers and lakes and the huge delta are so prone
to flooding because of how close to sea level they sit, with low banks. The
water has a moderating effect all year round, staving off extremes of
temperature; this effect is slightly reduced the further inland you travel.
Also part of the Netherlands
are the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, tropical islands sitting in the
Caribbean off the north coast of South America.
As might be expected, the weather in these areas is a little different: high
heat and humidity year round, wet and dry seasons and a susceptibility to