Snow In The Netherlands Get More Exceptional, this is why
A lot of people wonder, Does it snow in The Netherlands? It is also a question we get often asked when we meet other travelers during our travels around the world. When you’re planning a trip to The Netherlands during the winter, you probably want to know if you’re getting a lot of snow. Let’s find out!
On average The Netherlands gets snow 20 days a year, from which 10 days are with a snow deck. The other days the snow melts quickly because of temperatures above the freezing point. The most snow falls in the eastern provinces. The highest chance of snow in The Netherlands is between December and February.
Luckily there are plenty of snow days left in The Netherlands. In this article, we tell you all about when you have the highest chance of snow days, how to prepare for it, and what the best snow activities are in The Netherlands. Let’s prepare for some winter days!
Snow Days in The Netherlands
The winter period has the highest chance of snowfall. There are, on average, 20 days with snowfall between December and February. However, this doesn’t mean that the country turns into a white winter wonderland every year. I live in the western part of the country, and if we get two or three consecutive days covered in a blanket of snow it’s a lot! Of course, when this happens, we’ll drop everything and make sure we’re having the best time playing in the snow!
Days With Snow Decreasing Rapidly
When I was still a kid we could play in the snow almost every winter. It was normal to have many days when everything was covered with snow. My parents always told me and my brother, ‘when we were young, there was even more snow!’ I didn’t pay attention to what they were saying at that time, too busy playing in the snow. However, looking at the charts now it amazes me how fast the snow days decreased.
According to the respected Dutch weather channel weer.nl, the average snow days per year decreased by 13 days! Between the period 1961 and 1990, The Netherlands got 33 days with snow on average. However, between 1991 and 2020, the average snow days decreased to 20 per year. Most of the snow melts quickly because of the high temperatures. So days with an actual snow deck are becoming more exceptional these days!
On average only 10 days per year it’s cold enough in The Netherlands to actually cover the streets with a blanket of snow. That’s a decrease of almost 50% when compared to a few decades ago. In between 1961 – 1990 there were 19 snow deck days on average per year. A snow deck day is when the snow doesn’t melt directly. However, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll find a blanket of snow everywhere. Sometimes because of the wind in certain parts, you’ll find no snow at all, and in other places you can easily find snow dunes during these days.
Different Types Of Snow
So, as we mentioned earlier, it’s becoming more exceptional to see The Netherlands covered in a blanket of thick snow. This is because most snow that falls nowadays is known as moistered snow. Most days, temperatures are too high for the snow to stay. The snow melts before or when it hits the ground. This type of snow is known as moistered snow or wet snow. There are two types of snow Dry Snow and Moistured Snow.
Dry snow is snow that creates the white winter wonderland. When temperatures on the ground are cold enough for snow to stay, dry snow creates what we know as a snow deck. Snowdecks only appear when temperatures are below or around the freezing point. The temperature is 32 Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower.
Moistered snow, also known as Wet Snow, derives when the air- and ground temperatures are above the freezing point. So this will mean 32 Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or higher. When this is the case, the snow that’s falling is melting before it hits the ground. It only creates a wet and often slippery surface.
When there’s a lot of moistered snow falling in a short amount of time, the snow can stay for a few hours, but it always melts quickly.
Snow and traffic
Snowfall in The Netherlands can have a significant influence on daily life. At first, you think it’s fun. A snow deck is beautiful to see, and it is great to spend some time in the snow playing around. However, the influence of snow on traffic and public transport is significant.
When the snow is such that it creates a snow deck, it is possible that public transport stops running for safety reasons. Buses and trams can’t drive around safely through the cities because of the slippery roads.
Also, traffic gets significantly slower. During heavy snowfall, it is harder to see other traffic, and with the slippery road conditions, it is not allowed to drive faster than 19 or 31 mph (30 or 50 kilometers/hour.)
Traffic Control is strict in The Netherlands, and with the precautionary measures during (heavy) snowfall, it is safe to drive around.
Best Things to do in The Winter Season
When it is snowing in The Netherlands, there aren’t many extra things to do. Of course, you can build a snowman or find a place where you can ride a sled. It is just fun to go outside!
There aren’t any mountains in The Netherlands, so the flat country is not suitable for skiing. We do have different indoor ski centers, called Snow-world, which are fun for a visit. You can visit these centers year-round though. So, I wouldn’t personally go there when there’s finally a day with a snow deck!
Visit Cultural Sites and events
Visiting the Netherlands during the winter period can be fun. It is a great time to visit the different cultural sites, and there are a few events you can attend.
Amsterdam Light Festival is an art festival that you allow to follow a route of different artworks through the center and canals of Amsterdam.
During the winter period, there are different speedskating on ice competitions you can attend. The Dutch have some of the best speedskating athletes in the world, with all-time world champion Sven Kramer as the most famous one. Every year athletes compete for the National, European, or World Championships competition. Find the latest speedskating calendar on this website (the website is in Dutch).
Some interesting cultural museums to visit are;
- Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
- Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)
- Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)
- Mauritshuis (The Hague)
- Escher in the Palace (The Hague)
Go Ice Skating
There is a slight chance that you can go ice skating on the natural lakes during the winter period. However, almost every city organizes ice skating courts throughout the winter season. One of the most famous ice skating courts is Ice*Amsterdam, located at Museumplein next to the Rijksmuseum, which opens annually between November 16th and February 2nd (Covid measures can change the opening times).
Visit Giethoorn or Kinderdijk
Two of the most well-known cultural places to visit in The Netherlands are the small village Giethoorn, and Unesco World Heritage site Kinderdijk. Both are located in different areas of the country. It’s always a good idea to visit both sites when you are in The Netherlands. However, when one of the sites is covered with a snow deck the views and vibe you’ll get are even more fascinating.
Giethoorn is a small village in The Netherlands, that only consists of small canals and no actual streets. So, to get around the village you’ll need a small boat. Kinderdijk is known for its unique 18th-century windmills. The site exists of different windmills with water management systems. It was one of the first water management areas in the world, that protected the land of the rising water levels.
Best Time To Visit The Netherlands
The winter period is not our most recommended period for a visit. We wrote an extensive article about the best time to visit The Netherlands. The article contains a month-to-month guide, where we tell you about the best things to do. We also give each month a star ranking at the best time to visit. The winter months December – February score 3 out of 5 stars.
Read the article here: Best time to visit The Netherlands.
Winter Packing List For The Netherlands
When you decide to book your trip to The Netherlands during the winter period, you better prepare for some cold conditions and unpredictable weather.
We create this packing list to make your life easier;
We always try to travel light, but winter clothes are a bit heavier than when you only need to pack a few shorts and shirts. That’s why we recommend using a backpack which you can use as a duffel bag as well. It’s easy to use and can fit a lot of stuff. We use the NorthFace Duffel bag (check the latest price on Amazon), it fits both our summer and winter clothes.
To keep the duffel bag organized, we recommend using some packing cubes of Eagle Creek. There are other packing cubes available, but our experience with Eagle Creek Pack Cubes (check the latest price on Amazon) is perfect. The packing cubes are of good quality, and with the different sizes and colors, it is easy to keep things separated.
Recommended clothing for a trip to The Netherlands is warm clothes. Make sure to bring enough warm sweaters and trousers, and a winter jacket. Also, a beanie and warm scarf are recommended. And maybe even hand gloves when you want to ride a bicycle.
When you’re visiting The Netherlands in February, you might want to bring a few shirts as well. The weather is unpredictable, and you might end up having some warm sunny days.
Make sure to bring some shoes with a good grip. Hiking shoes are often a good choice because you can use them in different weather conditions. When it’s snowing the streets can be slippery, so you want to make sure you are walking on shoes with enough grip.
Are you looking for more recommendations? Make sure to check out our recommendations pages.
Related articles about The Netherlands
The winter period is not the most recommended period for a visit to The Netherlands. You might ask yourself, what is the best time for a visit? Make sure to read the article we wrote about the best time to visit, where we answer that question.
A visit to The Netherlands is for many a visit to Amsterdam. When you’re visiting Amsterdam, our article with 25 things to do in Amsterdam helps plan your stay.
We wrote several articles about our country. We love to tell you about the best things to do in The Netherlands. And despite the fact we are traveling around the world for several months a year, The Netherlands stays our home.
During our travels, people always ask us about the crazy traditions we have in The Netherlands, so we decided to write an article about it; The weird things the Dutch people are known for.