Weather in Amsterdam is changeable. In fact, the weather is so unpredictable that meteorologists can only give a somewhat accurate prediction about seven days out. Unpredictable weather makes it a bit difficult for a tourist to know what clothes to bring on a trip. Some helpful guidelines are listed below – by season.
One of the most beautiful times in Amsterdam is tulip time. These gorgeous blooms come out mid to later March and last until early or mid-May. The blooming season depends on the harshness of the preceding winter. There is nothing as gorgeous as fields of tulips in every color of the rainbow. It is stunning. Come to Lisse, south of Amsterdam, the last two weeks of April. You might want to travel to the tulip city of Keukenhof. It can be chilly in Lisse and Keukenhof as well as in Amsterdam, so wear a heavy sweater you can take off when the weather warms up.
The people watching time of the year is summer. Riding bikes around the city, window shopping or just sitting on the terrace is perfect in summer. Watch out, though, long and warm days in the sun can be ruined by rain. In 2011 during a 48-hour period no less than five inches of rain fell. These huge amounts of rain were double the average rainfall for the entire month. Daytime temperatures can be very humid. Days can be as warm as 40 Celsius (100+°F), or Mother Nature might play a joke on you and the temperatures will drop as low as 10 Celsius (50°F). Thunderstorms are common in the summer so if you are sitting on the terrace or walking around the streets, keep an umbrella handy.
City dwellers in Amsterdam may take a holiday during the summer. Take note that the public transport system may be slower than usual due to workers off the job. An upside to those who travel to Amsterdam, since there are many people going to different parts of Europe, the roads are quiet.
Autumn brings outdoor terraces, indoors in late October. Amsterdam is still very busy with business travelers and conventions in town. Hotel rooms get every expensive, but the market stalls are worth the trip. You will see mists along the canals but don’t be alarmed; the temperature rarely goes below freezing. Temperatures can still be around 20 Celsius (70°F). You will need to keep a sweater or light jacket handy.
Winter is a magical time of year. Ice rinks suddenly appear; the trees are white with frost, and it seems to be much quieter in the city. It doesn’t snow very often and not even every year. Freezing weather can last from one day to months. Temperatures can be quite comfortable at 15 Celsius (60°F).
The best advice for clothing when traveling to Amsterdam, or any time of the year, is to layer up. Keep coats and mittens available in winter, light jackets in the fall, very light weight shirts in summer and jackets or sweaters in spring.