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Amsterdam weather in May

Good news: In Holland, May often is the sunniest month of the year, with on average up to 15 hours of sunshine a day.

Oudeschans, Amsterdam

Originally a defense moat, the Oudeschans — with the 16th-century Montelbaanstoren — is a picturesque canal in the center of Amsterdam. Photo by Anton Hein.

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.

Updated May 23, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 Overcast or cloudy in the morning, and pretty much throughout the rest of the day. We will see some sun, but we’re also expecting scattered, light rain showers from about mid-afternoon through early- or mid evening. Mid-afternoon high around 25° Celsius (77° Fahrenheit).

Thursday, May 31, 2018 Sunny intervals, but mostly cloudy throughout the day. There could be some scattered, light rain showers at some time in the afternoon, but forecasters disagree among each other as to the time: anywhere from early through late afternoon. Afternoon high temperatur: 24° Celsius (75.2° Fahrenheit).

How to dress for May

Long term forecast

More weather? See June.

Average Low and High Temperatures in April

Normal Average Low and High Temperatures in May in Amsterdam
Date Minimum Maximum
May 1-10 7.3° Celsius (45.14° Fahrenheit) 15.9° Celsius (60.6° Fahrenheit)
May 11-20 8.4#176; Celsius (47.1° Fahrenheit) 17.4° Celsius (63.3° Fahrenheit)
May 21-30 9.2° Celsius (48.6° Fahrenheit) 18° Celsius (64.4° Fahrenheit)

Things To Do

During the month of May lots of tourists visit Amsterdam. Book skip-the-line tickets, museums, excursions and activities ahead of time:

Hotels

Due to high demand, hotel prices tend to be higher during the months of April and May. For the best rates (and to make sure you can even get a room) Book your hotel as early as possible.

Amsterdam weather in May includes lots of sun

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

Temperatures
• 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.

Rainfall
• 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.

Cruise ship Amsterdam

Even though May is the sunniest month of the year, it won’t always be sunny. Here Amsterdam’s cruise ship terminal is shown under an overcast sky.

Tips

  • 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.

Amsterdam Climate

General information about the weather in Amsterdam
Local weather in other months

Notes:

  1. Dutch: Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut
  2. In the Netherlands, most movies on TV and in the cinema are shown in the original language, with Dutch subtitles.
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This post was last updated: May. 30, 2018