Humidity is present both in hot and cold weathers and the Netherlands is a great example of humidity all year round. You won’t be safe in this country, no matter what time of the year you want to visit it, it is humid, rainy and even when the sun comes out, the feeling is even worse: cold feels colder and hot feels hotter.
Amsterdam, like the rest of the Netherlands, is very humid. This is due to its location, close to the see, surrounded by canals and in the Northern part of Europe, where rain happens no matter what time of the year it is. Summer, if the sun comes out are humid and hot. Winter, is humid and cold.
When visiting Amsterdam you will have to consider bringing a lot of special clothing, umbrellas and good shoes because of the rain, no matter if it is winter or summer. Besides the more extreme temperatures in comparison to other European countries, Dutch people tend to go out a lot, exercise outside and they are always on a bike. Do you want to know more about it? Keep reading!
Amsterdam: Humid Summers and Humid Winters
Yes, believe it or not, humidity is something that affects this city all year round. As I was saying, due to its geographical location on the coast of the Northern Sea, the big amount of water surrounding the city (including the river Amstel, the river IJ, and all the well-known canals), humidity is present during most of the year.
Amsterdam has shown to be one of the rainiest places in Europe. Believe it or not, Amsterdam has more precipitations than London, unbelievable, right?
In any case, according to weather reports, the average percentage of humidity in Amsterdam is over 80% all year round. The month of May happens to be the less humid month and the months of December and January are almost 100% of humidity. Basically, you either live under a cloud of rain, snow or hail.
During Winter, Amsterdam is one of the rainiest places in Europe. It rains literally every day and you can spend over a week before you see the sun. Basically, you don’t really know when it is the day and when it is the night. Even when the sun comes out for a little bit, it is only light and it doesn’t really warm up the city, like when the sun comes out in Italy or Spain during the colder months. I wouldn’t recommend you taking your coat of.
If you happen to go through an extra humid spot, such as Rembrandtpark, Vondelpark or any canal, when the sun comes out you will be able to see a very deep curtain of fog created by the condensation of all the humidity in the air and the little bit of warmth the sun brings up. It is both creepy and magical.
I have visited many countries during winter, snow everywhere covering it all, I have lived in the Pyrenees and in the Andes and let me tell you, Amsterdam is really cold. Humidity makes you feel the temperature much more extremely so no matter what you are wearing, chances are you are always going to be cold.
During the Summer, it is also a quite humid country. Last summer 2019 in Amsterdam, was especially hot. Basically, everybody was melting down with only 28-30 degrees. If you have that temperature in Spain, you are still good to go, whereas in the Netherlands, with the lack of AC in most shops and the humidity in the air, you need to live inside the sea or a swimming pool. Dehydration is likely to happen and the whole country is on a red alarm not to go out during the sunniest hours of the day (hard to deal with considering that we have something similar to the summer nights with sun until 11pm that Scandinavian countries do ).
To sum up, when it’s cold, it’s colder. When it’s warm, it is warmer.
February: the least Humid Month
According to weather reports, February is the least humid months in Amsterdam. However, this still means 80% of humidity, high chances of rain and cold winter wonderland. In any case, Amsterdam is beautiful all year round and February is a great month to go for a quick trip for Valentines Day to my favorite city in Europe 😉
What to Wear for a Humid Weather
I don’t know about you but this is one of my biggest concerns. When I first had to pack to go on my Erasmus I was very much concerned about this. When buying a coat I would always have to take this into consideration, and the same for shoes, hats and all of my wardrobe.
If you are visiting the Netherlands or are planning on living there, the best tip there is to dress up is that everything has to be waterproof and that you have to dress like an onion: layers and more layers.
Here there are some tips for winter and summer in the Netherlands and what has worked out for me:
- Always wear gloves: if you are walking around, you need them. If you are cycling, you REALLY need them. If you are carrying your shopping bags, you need them. Gloves are a must, they will also protect your hands from getting wet and your skin to end up looking like a reptile.
- Moisturiser: believe it or not, both for summer and winter this is a must. I am not the biggest fan of the feeling of any moisturiser on my hands or face, but it is definitely non-negotiable.
- Hooded-coat: this is something that saved my life. If your winter coat has a hoody or you are wearing some layer under your coat that has a hoody, it will protect not only your head but also your neck and pack from getting soaking when if the rain comes from behind you, walking or on a bike.
- Tights or thermal layers: against my believes, thermal layers and tights don’t suffocate you when you are indoors with heating as long as they are good quality. These will help you keep the temperature of your body and there will be one more layer between you and the humid weather.
- Two pairs of socks: ok, maybe this is not for everyone but I love wearing my tights and another pair of socks. It is extra comfortable and extra warm.
- Buy boots or winter shoes, one size bigger: this will give your feet some extra room and air to warm up and that way they will keep warmer for longer. Also, getting some proper chunky boots is a great idea!
- Layers and layers: this way you can take it all off when you are indoors and all back in when you are going out,
- Layers and layers: yes, this is also a great tip for summer. With the extra humidity, if you are in the sun, you will have the urge to be half-naked yet you are going to sweat a lot. If it rains but it is hot, you will still want a layer between you and the rain. A trench coat, a light scarf or a light jacket will always be welcome.
- Linen: this is great for going to work or go somewhere formal when you don’t know what to wear when the weather is extra hot. In darker colours better, just in case it starts raining and it sticks to your body.
- Waterproof shoes or many pairs of them: you are going to walk a lot when in Amsterdam and it will rain almost once a day unequivocally. Bringing many pairs of shoes or some waterproof and comfortable ones is a great idea.
Amsterdam: Rain Advice
How do Dutch people survive cycling in the rain? Well, there are some tips you will learn about observing them. Some of them are these:
- Buienradar: this is an app and a website that will tell you the level of humidity and exactly when it is supposed to rain, minutes and almost seconds. It is quite precise (considering that we are talking about natural science as rain is) and you can wait for the rain to stop to go out on your bike, or hurry before the worst part arrives. This doesn’t only work in Amsterdam but in the whole Netherlands.
- Waterproof coat: this is something every Dutch person has. You can buy them everywhere, including disposable ones in AH (they come in little cute plastic bags) and use them to walk, cycle or just be under the rain. Very practical and easy to carry around. In other stores like HEMA you will also find matching trousers.
- Bring along an Umbrella: unless you are used to getting soaking wet every day, bringing along an umbrella is a good idea. After cycling so much I gave up but when I wear a nicer coat or I have to go to work and it is raining cats and dogs, I cycle with my umbrella, like a proper Dutch.