Amsterdam weather in December

If you see any sunshine in Amsterdam during December, take a picture.

In this darkest month of the year the sun shows up only 40-45 hours, and you can expect at least half of the days to pass without any sunshine to speak of.1

In Holland December is a winter month, after all. The shortest day of the year — in terms of the amount of daylight — falls on December 21st, and that’s when the winter season starts.

Prinsengracht on a beautiful December day

Prinsengracht on a beautiful December day

Tourists from countries closer to the equator are often amazed at how short Amsterdam days really are in December, with sunrise on average at about 8:30 am, and sunset around 4:30 pm.

For those Amsterdammers who have a regular 9-5 job it’s no fun going to and from work in the dark, let alone when there’s rain or frost.

Mind you, this is not the rainiest month, nor the coldest. But Amsterdam weather in December includes a fair amount of precipitation — usually in the form of rain or wet snow.

Update: December 24, 2015

The weather has been so mild that it’s quite possible this will turn out to be the warmest December on record in the Netherlands. ‘On record’ in this case means since 1901 — the year in which the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute2 began keeping track of the weather in Holland.

Thus far there has been no sign of the bitter cold that often marks this month. Even during the night the temperature has seldom dipped below 10° Celsius (50° Fahrenheit).

It is so mild that some trees are budding much earlier than normal. Hay fever sufferers are not amused.

Thursday (24) It’s Christmas Eve, but Amsterdam weather is still acting like it’s early spring. Today’s high temperature of 11° Celsius (51.8° Fahrenheit) will last pretty much throughout the afternoon. Some light rain or drizzle is expected from time to time from mid-afternoon through early evening. Earlier you may see the sun from time to time as well.

Friday (25) Sorry, no White Christmas. But it will be a bit colder than yesterday, with a high of 8° Celsius (46.4° Fahrenheit) hanging around through much of the afternoon. To compensate, it may be partially sunny then as well — though the windchill factor will make you feel like it’s only 2° Celsius (35.6° Fahrenheit). A few drops of rain in the evening, perhaps.

Saturday (26) Temps are back up today, with a high of 13° Celsius (55.4° Fahrenheit) around 3pm. No rain expected. Quite cloudy, but most weather forecasts call for some sunshine throughout the late morning and much of the afternoon. (Incidentally, in the Netherlands today is known as 2nd Christmas Day (Tweede Kerstdag).

Sunday (27) Quite cloudy, but partially sunny for much of the day — though veil clouds may interfere during the morning. Early- though mid-afternoon high of 10° Celsius (50° Fahrenheit).

Monday (28) Depending on which weather service you believe, it will either be abundantly sunny throughout much of the day, or it will be rather cloudy with partial sunshine trying its best. The temperatures take a bit of a dip: around 4-5° Celsius (39.2-41° Fahrenheit) in the morning, and a mid-afternoon high of 8° Celsius (46.4° Fahrenheit).

Tuesday (29) Cloudy, and an afternoon high of 9° Celsius (48.2° Fahrenheit)

Wednesday (30) Cloudy. Scatttered rain showers throughout the day, and a high of 8° Celsius (46.4° Fahrenheit).

Thursday (31) Cloudy. Scatttered rain showers throughout the day, and a high of 9° Celsius (48.2.4° Fahrenheit).

Long Term forecast, Friday January 1 through Friday January 8: The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute foresees a 90% chance that the mild, lightly changeable weather pattern will continue — though perhaps with slightly colder temperatures. The remaining 10% calls for a drier, but colder period. Temperatures still quite a bit above what’s normal for this time of the year.

Normal Low and High Temperatures in December
1-10: 2 – 6.8° Celsius (35.6 – 44.24° Fahrenheit)
11-20: 1.1 – 5.9° Celsius (33.98 – 42.62° Fahrenheit)
21-30: 1.1 – 5.5° Celsius (33.98 – 41.9° Fahrenheit)

Visiting Amsterdam in December?
It’s a perfect time to have dinner with some Amsterdam locals

Snow: White Christmas in Amsterdam?

Measured over the whole country, on average some form of weather drops from the sky on 22 days, for a total of 72mm (2.8 inches). Still speaking in averages, 3 of those days will see hail, 5 wet snow and 6-10 days fog.

Snow in Amsterdam, December 2009

It may snow from time to time, but seldom a lot, and a white Christmas in Amsterdam is a rare occurrence.

That said, if you’ve followed our weather write-ups for a while, you know we always point out how unpredictable Dutch weather is.

When snow does fall — the good stuff, not the wet slurry — Amsterdam looks like this:

And in case you’re wondering: the end of the month is 1 to 1.5 degrees colder than the beginning. We’re gearing up for January.

Westertoren against dark clouds

Do expect cloudy, dark, wet weather — with an occasional hint, or burst, of sunshine.

What to wear in Amsterdam in December

December can be bone-chillingly cold, especially when it’s windy.

You’ll definitely want to bring warm clothes, along with a winter-proof, waterproof coat or jacket.

A windproof hat or cap — especially one that keeps the ears warm — will be very welcome. You’ll also want a scarf and gloves.

Bring sweaters and warm socks. Long underwear may come in handy as well.

That said, make sure you dress in layers. Pubs, restaurants and private homes can be quite warm.

December snow at the Beguinage

December snow at the Beguinage

Amsterdam weather facts: December

Temperatures
• Average lows: 0.5° C (33° F)
• Average highs: 5.5° C (42° F)

Sunrise & Sunset
• December 1 – 8:27 a.m. / 4:32 p.m.
• December 31 – 8:51 a.m. / 4:37 p.m.

Rainfall
• Average 72mm (2.8 inches) in 72 hours

Amsterdam Current Weather & Month-by-Month

More about the weather in Amsterdam, including current temperatures, expected precipitation, 4-day forecast and average rainfall figures. Also: the weather from month-to-month.

Disclaimer

This weather information is curated by Amsterdammer Anton Hein. He is not a meteorologist, and since he works from home he usually doesn’t have to brave the elements if he chooses not to do so. He reminds you that the only thing truly predictable about Dutch weather is that it is very changeable, and notoriously hard to predict.

Notes:

  1. When the sun does shine, owing to the crispy temperatures it is often combined with deep-blue skies. That makes for great photos. Added benefit: with most trees bare the architectural features of the great canal houses are easier to see.
  2. Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Institute (KNMI)
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This post was last updated: Dec. 24, 2015    

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