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.
You don’t realy have to worry about 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’ve just had a week or so of pleasantly mild — warm even — spring weather, in which the sun was able to shine quite a bit amid the scattered cumulus clouds.
Occasional rain showers were expected, but we didn’t see any.
Tomorrow, Friday April 25th, is supposed to be quite warm, with a midday temperature of 23° C (73.4° F).
But a downturn is expected to arrive during the weekend.
We’re looking at a midday temperature of about 18° C (64.2° F) along with a 30% chance of rain for Saturday, King’s Day.
From Sunday, April 27, on through Wednesday, April 30, the midday temperature will decrease to about 15° C (59° F), and every day there will be scattered (and usually brief) showers.
Long-term (Thursday, May 1 through Thursday, May 8), the weather pros expects an 80% possibility of changeable weather, with midday temperatures a tad below what’s normal for the time of year.
Toward the end of that period we’ll see a decreasing chance of rain, and an increase in temperatures.
Normal for May is midday highs of around 18° C (64.4° F) — temperatures expected to return starting May 5.
Note: this page will be updated regularly between now and the end of May.
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.
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.
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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