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’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)
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
• 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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