The Netherlands has a mainly temperate climate, with cool to mild summers and cold winters. The Netherlands is a country in Western Europe, with Germany in the east and Belgium in the south. The country has maritime borders with Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom in the North Sea in the northwest. The climate is oceanic (Köppen climate classification Cfb) in much of the country that lies in mainland Europe. A small part of the country lies in the Caribbean and has a tropical climate. The temperate latitudes, flat terrain, and proximity to large water bodies chiefly influence the climate.
The Netherlands is a temperature country 52°N of the equator. The country has an extremely low elevation and a mostly flat topography. Only fifty% of the land exceeds an elevation of 1 meter above sea level, while 17% lies below sea level. The north and west are low and flat. The south and east have slightly high elevations and are hilly. The central region has low hill ranges, while the far southeast has foothills up to a maximum height of 321 meters. Areas below sea level are mostly human-made through peat extraction or land reclamation. Dikes or embankments protect the land reclaimed from the sea. The Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt are the chief rivers and form a delta in the southwest region. Vaalserberg, a hill at 322.4 meters in the southeast region, is the highest point in the European part of the Netherlands. Mount Scenery is the highest point at 887 meters in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has cool, cloudy, and humid weather throughout the year. The climate is uniform across the country, but slightly continental in the interior. The coasts are cool and windy. The annual average temperatures range between 5°C (41°F) and 14.4°C (57.9°F). Summers are pleasant, but the sunshine is moderate at best. The average high temperatures are between 20°C (68°F) and 25°C (77°F) during the summer. Few days cross 29.4°C (84.9°F), mostly in the southeast. Winters are cold but remain mostly above freezing. The average low temperatures are between 0°C (32°F) and 4.4°C (39.9°F) during the cold season. In the winter, the Atlantic current pushes up the day temperatures above 10°C (50°F) for brief periods. Cold air from Eastern Europe pushes temperatures below freezing, even during the day. Snowfall is moderate and typically occurs after the return of the westerlies. Spring is cold in the first half but brings mild to warm weather by May. Autumn is pleasant in the initial stages. By October, the atmosphere is cloudy, cloud, and wet. The winds frequently blow, particularly in the autumn and the winter.
The annual average rainfall in the Netherlands ranges between 736.6mm (29") and 838.2mm (33"). Rainfall is moderate but frequent throughout the year. The precipitation is uniform due to the mostly flat terrain and the small area of the country. The clearest skies occur during the summer, and the cloudiest skies are in the winter. The sunshine is moderate and ranges from 1500 hours to 1800 hours annually. The daily sunshine lasts for hardly 2 hours in the winter and 7 hours in the summer. The average annual wind speeds are in the 12.9km/h (8mph) to 29km/h (18mph) zone. The windiest and cloudiest part of the year is between October and March. The northwest coast is the windiest region in the country. The North Sea is cold, even in the summer, and temperatures range from 5°C (41°F) to 18.3°C (64.9°F) over the year.
The highest temperature on record in the Netherlands is 40.7°C (105.3°F) in Gilze en Rijen, set on July 25, 2019. The lowest temperature on record is -27.4°C (-17.3°F) in Winterswijk, set on January 27, 1942.
The best time to visit the Netherlands
The best time to visit the Netherlands is between May and September. The conditions are comfortable from late spring to early autumn, although rain is frequent. The days are long and warm, and the daylight lasts up to 16.5 hours in the summer. The humidity levels are comfortable, and the daily sunshine keeps the clouds at bay. Summer brings clear skies and warm temperatures. May and June see the blooming of tulips across the landscape. Beach holidays are best in the summer, with seawater temperatures above 15.6°C (60.1°F). Early autumn is colorful, and September registers day temperatures above 20°C (68°F).
The worst time to visit the Netherlands
The worst time to visit the Netherlands is generally in the winter from December to February. The cold season is prone to snow and frost. Nights occasionally drop below freezing, and even the days can be chilly. The relative humidity is high, and the atmosphere is dark, cloudy, and dull. However, snow lovers and adventure seekers crave for ice skating on the frozen canals amid a white landscape. Warm winter clothing becomes a necessity during outdoor trips. Winter storms are frequent and bring strong gusts along with them. The seawaters are extremely cold below 5°C (41°F) and not suitable for swimming.
The Netherlands faces weather hazards, mainly from storms and floods. Floods are a constant threat in the Netherlands due to an increase in river and seawater levels. The country's low elevation and surrounding large water bodies are favorable for water surges. A widespread system of dams, dunes, and dikes protects up to 50% of the total area from floods. The heavy storms from the northwest in the autumn and the winter pose a significant challenge. Surge barriers prevent the concerns of rising sea levels up to a certain degree. However, polder lands need continuous protection from floods.
Weather in January
January is usually the coldest month of the year in the Netherlands. The peak of the winter brings cold, dark, and dull conditions. Nights occasionally drop below freezing and the days are chilly. In Amsterdam in the west, the average temperatures are in the cold 0.6°C (33.1°F) to 5.6°C (42.1°F) range. Groningen in the north is between -0.6°C (30.9°F) and 4.4°C (39.9°F). Eindhoven in the south registers in the cold range of 0°C (32°F) to 5.6°C (42.1°F). Much of the country receives 63.5mm (2.5") to 76.2mm (3") rain, with at least 12 wet days in the month. Frost is standard, but snowfall is mostly light. The daily sunshine limits to less than 2 hours in the cold of winter. The average temperature of the North Sea waters is less than 5°C (41°F) in Amsterdam. January is the windiest month of the year, with average wind speeds of 24.9km/h (15.5mph) in Amsterdam. The frozen canals and rivers offer ideal grounds for ice-skating in January in the Netherlands.
Weather in February
February is cold and cloudy in the Netherlands. The average temperatures in Rotterdam range between 0.6°C (33.1°F) to 6.7°C (44.1°F). In Venlo, the temperatures are slightly more, in the range of 1.1°C (34°F) to 7.8°C (46°F). The Hague is cold between 1.1°C (34°F) and 6.1°C (43°F) but receives only 50.8mm (2") of rainfall. The sunlight is weak and lasts for hardly 3 hours in most parts. The daylight increases sharply from 9 hours to 10 hours and 50 minutes over the month. The skies remain overcast up to 63% of the time. The average seawater temperatures are at the coldest of the year and drop below a dangerous 3.9°C (39°F) on the northern and western coasts. Expect strong gusts on the coasts. In Groningen in the north, the daily average wind speeds are between 24.1km/h (15mph) and 26.6km/h (16.5mph). Wind directions are predominantly from the south and west. February is cold in the Netherlands but is an ideal month for ice skating on the frozen landscape.
Weather in March
March is cold and relatively dry in the early spring season in the Netherlands. In the northern town of Groningen, the coldest region, average temperatures are in the range of 1.7°C (35.1°F) to 8.9°C (48°F). The southern region is the warmest, with the average temperatures in Eindhoven in the 2.2°C (36°F) to 10.6°C (51.1°F) zone. Nights occasionally drop to freezing, and the Siberian cold air can keep the days cold. The precipitation is to the tune of 50.8mm (2") to 68.6mm (2.7"), but snowfall is rare during the spring. The daily sunshine registers at 4 hours as the daylight increases to 12 hours. The cloud cover decreases and the skies remain clear up to 45% of the time. The average seawater temperatures climb to 6.7°C (44.1°F) by the end of March but remain too cold for water activities. Wind speeds decrease over the month, and the daily average speeds are between 20.9km/h (13mph) and 22.5km/h (14mph). March sees a gradual rise in temperatures with each passing day in the Netherlands.
Weather in April
April is the driest month of the year in the Netherlands. The precipitation ranges between 35.6mm (1.4") and 45.7mm (1.8") in most regions. Expect at least 9 wet days in the month. Tulips bloom everywhere, as the average temperatures register in the mild 3.3°C (37.9°F) to 15°C (59°F) range. The Hague registers between 3.9°C (39°F) and 12.8°C (55°F), while Utrecht is between 3.9°C (39°F) and 13.9°C (57°F). The sunshine rises significantly to register 6 hours every day. The daylight sharply increases from 13 hours in the beginning to 15 hours by the month-end. The skies remain clear up to 47% of the time. The conditions remain comfortable as relative humidity remains in the 55% to 65% range. The sea does not fare better than early spring, as average water temperatures remain below a cold 8.9°C (48°F). A rain jacket is useful, even in the driest month. April weather is fair in the Netherlands for budget travelers who do not mind a little cold.
Weather in May
May is warm and beautiful in the spring season in the Netherlands. Temperatures warm up significantly by the second half of the month. The atmosphere is bright and pleasant, with 7 hours of sunlight every day. The average temperatures in Rotterdam in the west register in the comfortable range of 7.8°C (46°F) to 17.8°C (64°F). In the east, Arnhem is between 7.8°C (46°F) and 18.3°C (64.9°F), while Maastricht in the south reports temperatures in the 8.3°C (46.9°F) to 18.3°C (64.9°F) range. The skies remain clear 50% of the time, and the humidity is moderate between 55% and 65%. The rainfall is in the moderate range of 50.8mm (2") to 61mm (2.4") and is mainly in the form of a drizzle. The daily average wind speeds decrease from 19.3km/h (12mph) to 17.7km/h (11mph) over the month. The average seawater temperatures are in the 10°C (50°F) to 12.8°C (55°F) range, with milder temperatures on the southwest coasts. Expect an increase in tourist numbers as the conditions warm up in May in the Netherlands.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the warm summer season in the Netherlands. The days are warm and the nights are cold. The skies are clear up to 54% of the time. The average temperatures are in the comfortable range of 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 21.7°C (71.1°F). In Venlo in the south, temperatures are in the beautiful 10.6°C (51.1°F) to 21.7°C (71.1°F). Groningen in the north registers slightly mild temperatures between 9.4°C (48.9°F) and 20°C (68°F). The precipitation is in the moderate range of 50.8mm (2") to 73.7mm (2.9"), with an average of 9 wet days in the month. The sunshine is moderate even in the summer and lasts for 7 hours every day. June 20 is the longest day in Amsterdam, with 16 hours and 48 minutes of daylight. The daily average wind speeds register in the 17.7km/h (11mph) to 19.3km/h (12mph) range. The average seawater temperatures remain below 13.9°C (57°F) and are cold for swimming. June is one of the best times to visit the Netherlands.
Weather in July
July is the warmest month in the Netherlands, with average temperatures between 11.7°C (53.1°F) and 23.3°C (73.9°F). The Azores High can warm up the temperatures, especially in the southeast. In Eindhoven, average high temperatures are between 22.2°C (72°F) and 24.4°C (75.9°F). Nights are cozy and mostly below 15.6°C (60.1°F). The daily sunshine lasts for 7 hours in most places. The daylight recedes to 15.5 hours but is still ample. The sun's ultraviolet index is only 6 at the peak of the summer. The skies are clear up to 56% of the time in Amsterdam, the brightest of the year. July sees a little increase in precipitation to measure between 66mm (2.6") and 78.7mm (3.1"). The daily average wind speeds remain in the 16.1km/h (10mph) to 17.7km/h (11mph) range. The average seawater temperatures at 16.1°C (61°F) are cold for swimming. A sweater or jacket is useful, even in the summer season. Expect a few hot days that push the mercury column beyond 29.4°C (84.9°F) in the Netherlands in July.
Weather in August
August is warm and pleasant in the summer in the Netherlands. The first week of August is usually the brightest of the year, with clear skies up to 56% of the time. The sunshine is moderate and lasts up to 7 hours every day. The long summer days gradually decrease in daylight to register at 13.5 hours by the end of the month. The average temperatures in Amsterdam are in the warm 13.3°C (55.9°F) to 21.7°C (71.1°F) range. Venlo registers comfortable temperatures in the zone of 13.9°C (57°F) to 23.3°C (73.9°F). The afternoons are warm and sunny and often the best times of the day. Evenings are cool, and nights are cozy. Warm autumn clothing, including a sweater and jacket, are comfortable in late summer. The precipitation registers a slight increase to 83.8mm (3.3") in much of the country. August has the warmest sea water temperatures at an average of 17.2°C (63°F). The daily average wind speeds are at the lowest of the year between 14.5km/h (9mph) to 17.7km/h (11mph). August is an excellent time to visit the Netherlands.
Weather in September
September is warm and colorful in the autumn season in the Netherlands. The average temperatures are in the comfortable range of 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 19.4°C (66.9°F). The fall colors are evident in the landscape. The temperatures begin to drop in the second half of September. The rainfall picks up gradually and registers between 76.2mm (3") to 88.9mm (3.5"), with at least 12 wet days in the month. Scattered thunderstorms occur throughout the month. The daily sunshine reduces drastically to less than 5 hours by the month-end. The daylight recedes to 12 hours by the vernal equinox on September 22. The daily average wind speeds in Groningen in the north increase from 19.3km/h (12mph) to 20.9km/h (13mph) over the month. Wind direction is prominently from the south. The average seawater temperatures of the North Sea at 17.2°C (63°F) are cold for swimming. Afternoons are the best bet for sunbathing on the coasts. September offers fair conditions in the Netherlands before the arrival of cold weather.
Weather in October
October is a mild to cool autumn month in the Netherlands, with the fall colors at their peak. The daily sunshine lasts only for 4 hours, and the sunrays are weak. The daylight decreases rapidly from 11.5 hours to less than 10 hours by the month-end. October is significantly wet, with an average rainfall of 88.9mm (3.5"). The cloudiness increases dramatically, with overcast skies up to 61% of the time. The days are warm, but nights are cold. The average temperatures in Amsterdam are in the mild range of 7.8°C (46°F) to 14.4°C (57.9°F). Venlo registers temperatures in the 6.1°C (43°F) to 17.2°C (63°F) range. Groningen, in the north, is cold between 6.1°C (43°F) and 13.9°C (57°F). The daily average wind speeds range between 19.3km/h (12mph) and 24.1km/h (15mph). Wind speeds increase by mid-autumn. The average seawater temperatures below 59°are cold for swimming. October is a nice option for budget travelers to visit the Netherlands, with plenty of discounts all-around and acceptable weather.
Weather in November
November is cold, cloudy, and windy in the late autumn season in the Netherlands. The average precipitation registers 88.9mm (3.5"), with a 50% possibility of a wet day. The skies are overcast up to 66% of the time. The dark skies allow hardly 2 hours of sunshine every day. The daylight registers only 8 hours by the end of the month. The average temperatures in Arnhem and Lingewaal in the east register in the cold 3.3°C (37.9°F) to 9.4°C (48.9°F) range. Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the west range between 4.4°C (39.9°F) and 10°C (50°F). The northern region is between 2.8°C (37°F) and 8.3°C (46.9°F), while the southern region registers in the zone of 3.3°C (37.9°F) to 9.4°C (48.9°F). Nights occasionally drop below freezing. Warm jackets or sweaters are necessary after sunset. The daily average wind speeds remain constant in the range of 21.7km/h (13.5mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph). The average seawater temperatures at 12.8°C (55°F) are cold for water activities. Keep an eye on the weather for autumn wind storms. Expect the cold to gradually increase by the second half of November in the Netherlands.
Weather in December
December is the beginning of the cold and dark winter in the Netherlands. The average temperatures are in the cold range of 0°C (32°F) to 6.7°C (44.1°F) in most regions. Much of the country receives less than 2 hours of sunlight every day. Winter storms are prevalent. The precipitation is to the tune of 76.2mm (3") in most parts, with at least 10 rainy days. December is the cloudiest month of the year, with overcast skies up to 71% of the time. The average seawater temperatures are between 7.2°C (45°F) in the northwest to 10°C (50°F) in the southwest. The daily average wind speeds range between 22.5km/h (14mph) to 25.7km/h (16mph), with the highest speeds along the northern coasts. Christmas is the time for wearing warm winter clothes, along with caps, gloves, and scarves. Keep an eye on the weather for strong winds and rain. December 21 is the shortest day in Amsterdam, with only 7 hours and 41 minutes of sunlight.