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 canal with the Montelbaanstoren

Oudeschans canal with the Montelbaanstoren


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.

Amsterdam Weather forecast © weather-wherever.co.uk

More Amsterdam weather (including other months)
Update, April 27 2016

We’ve had an unseasonable cold and wet last half of April, and we’re not out of the woods yet…

Sunday (1) Cloudy with sunny intervals in the morning, quite sunny around noon. Back to sunny intervals in the afternoon, leading to an overcast sky in the late afternoon. It’s expected to remain dry, and we’re looking for an afternoon high of 13° Celsius (55.4° Fahrenheit).

Monday (2) Overcast, with scattered light rain showers or drizzle in the late morning and in the evening. Average high: 11° Celsius (51.8° Fahrenheit).

Tuesday (3) Quite cloudy, with at times partial sun. Scattered light rain showers or drizzle throughout the day. 12° Celsius (53.6° Fahrenheit) in the afternoon.

Long term forecast, Wednesday May 4 through Wednesday May 11: High probability (around 80%) that the changeable weather pattern continues, though the chance of rain will lessen. Initially still too cold for the time of year. Later in the period the temperatures will likely be around the long term average.

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)

tours

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 was a dream — beautiful spring weather.

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.
Amsterdam Cruiseship Terminal
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.

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: Apr. 27, 2016    

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