Five Tips for Surviving the Dutch Weather

July 10, 2019
  It’s no secret that Dutch weather can be erratic but nothing quite prepares you for it. I still remember the first time I saw a weather forecast on the morning news - I was shocked to see 4 different icons in one day – sun, rain, clouds and snow!  How was that even possible? Coming from the Philippines where it’s either hot or wet– the ever-changing weather in Holland is something that I am learning to come to terms with. It might be a challenge but it’s not impossible! Here are five simple tips that I have used to survive the weather in The Netherlands.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Woman with yellow rain jacket from the back walking in a park My partner’s sister shared this with me a few years ago and it hasn’t left my mind ever since. It really changed my perspective on “feeling cold”. Sometimes it’s biological but sometimes it’s your wardrobe. Find yourself a sturdy waterproof and windproof jacket. This is a must! The same goes with other essential articles of clothing. Think quality over quantity. I also used to worry about looking too bundled up in spring or wearing thermals when no one else did. Now I don’t care. Dress in a way that you know will keep you warm, dry and comfortable.

A little preparation goes a long way.

I have never looked so much at the weather forecast as I do in The Netherlands. It’s the first thing I check in the morning. Do your research. If you know it’s going to rain, wear your boots. If it’s going to be sunny, dress in layers so you can always remove or add on as the day progresses. If it’s going to be chilly, wear thicker base layers. If it’s a windy day, try an up-do!  It’s also important to take into account how you will be getting around all day. Are you going to be on your bike or in the car? If you are not sure, throw an extra shawl or sweater in your backpack.

Take it as it is

So now you’ve got your good quality clothes and you’ve checked the forecast. You are prepared and ready to face the day!  I hate to break it to you but sometimes it just is not enough. This is when I say: take it as it is! I used to find myself complaining when the weather would take a turn for the worst and the quality of my mood would quickly fall into a downward spiral as well.  Some things are just beyond our control, and the weather is one of them. What I can control is my attitude. On a positive note, if the weather can take turn for the worst it means it can also take a turn for the better! Let’s go sun!

Enjoy it!

Two girls walking in a park under a white umbrella   As a child, adults always warned me not to play in the rain. The first few times I would experience rain here, I was surprised to see people simply bike or walk through it!  Now, I can entertain my inner child. I’ve also learned not to take the sun for granted. When it’s out, you better be out too! The changing seasons are a feast for senses. Yes, fall might be wet but the colors are so beautiful.  The winter may be freezing, but the air is so fresh!

Use it to make conversation!

If there’s something Dutch people love, it’s talking about the weather! And who can blame them? There’s a lot to say! This is the perfect opportunity to practice the language and make small talk at a café. Take these examples: “Wat een weertje!” (What weather!) – Can be use either positive or negative. “Lekker weer, he? (Nice weather, right?) – Can be sarcastic. “Het weer is heel wisselvallig!” (The weather is so erratic!) – Stating a fact. “Er valt geen pijl op te trekken.” (You can’t draw an arrow on it… because it’s a moving target) At the end of the day, you will be comforted in knowing that you are not alone.  We are all in this together!

Mia Tengco, Kickstart student