Good news: In Holland, May often is the sunniest month of the year, with on average up to 15 hours of sunshine a day.
However, May also tends to have as many cold days as it has warm days.
At night there can even be some frost, particularly in the first half of the month — though if and when that happens it is usually in the countryside far east of Amsterdam.
That said, the feast days of the so-called Ice Saints — May 11 through May 13 — are notorious for it.
Mind you, as so often is the case, the weather forecast for the rest of the country may call for sun, while much of the West (Amsterdam included) can be covered with clouds drifting in from the Northsea.
We’re in a stretch of summer-like weather, with temperatures well above normal for this time of the year. Enjoy!
Saturday (27) A beautiful, summer-like day with abundant sunshine. Today’s high temperature — from mid-afternoon through early evening — ranges from 28-30° Celsius (82.4-86° Fahrenheit). No rain.
Sunday (28) Sunny in the early morning. Mostly sunny the rest of the day. Mid-afternoon high around 24° Celsius (75.2° Fahrenheit). Possibly some rain in the mid-evening, but nothing to worry about.
Monday (29) Partly cloudy or sunny intervals during most of the day. Various weather forecast services can’t quite agree as to what temperature it’s going to be. Their predictions for the mid- to late afternoon high range from 24-30° Celsius (75.2-86° Fahrenheit). Some say we many have a thunderstorm, or at least some rain, in the early- to mid evening.
Tuesday (30) Partly cloudy — veil clouds, most likely — with sunny intervals. No rain, but the mid-afternoon high will be around 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit).
Wednesday (31) Partly cloudy from early morning through early afternoon. Sunnier in the mid- to late afternoon, along with high temperatures between 18-21° Celsius (64.4-69.8° Fahrenheit).
Long-range forecast: See the month of June
Normal lows and highs in May:
1-10: 7.3-15.9° Celsius (45.14-60.6° Fahrenheit)
11-20: 8.4-17.4° Celsius (47.1-63.3° Fahrenheit)
21-31: 9.2-18° Celsius (48.6-64.4° Fahrenheit)
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)1 notes that in recent years the months of April and May have been rather mild, sunny and dry.
But May 2013 was quite cold, somber and wet. Even the sunny days were cold.
May 2014 and 2015 were dreams: beautiful spring weather.
2016 brought us one of the warmest months of May since 1901 (8th in ranking).
Amsterdam Weather Facts: May
• Average lows: 7.2° C (45° F)
• Average highs: 18° C (64.4° F)
Sunrise & Sunset
• May 1 – 6:11 a.m. / 9:06 p.m
• May 31 – 5:26 a.m. / 9:51 p.m.
• Average: 52 mm (2.4 inches) in 44 hours
What to wear in Amsterdam in May
You’ll need to take into account the updated weather situation as described above, but normally this is what you’d bring:
Bring short-sleeved T-shirts or tops, and summer-type skirts and dresses — but also something slightly warmer for chilly evenings and sunny but chilly days. Jeans, light-weight slacks, or shorts for guys.
Early mornings may look sunny but can still be cold enough to warrant sweats or a light jacket — especially when it’s windy.
After sundown temperatures cool off rapidly.
You probably won’t need an umbrella. If you do want to carry one, a small fold-up model will suffice. But showers usually are brief enough to wait them out over something to eat of drink at a brown café, a coffeehouse/coffeeshop. or a deli.
- Sunny days are perfect for postcard-quality photos — especially now that everything is green. You can take beautiful pictures along the canals (particularly from bridges).
- Grey and rainy days make for great dramatic pictures, particularly if you shoot in black & white (or later convert your color photos to B&W).
- When the weather is good, do like the Amsterdammers do, and relax at an outdoor café. It’s perfect for people-watching.
- If it’s rainy, plan on visiting some of Amsterdam’s 50+ museums
- A bad weather day is also perfect for a visit to the cinema2. We can recommend a visit to the unique EYE Film Institute.
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