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.

Updated December 2, 2016

Don’t forget: On most days the wind chill factor will make the ‘feels like’ temperature 3 to 6 degrees lower.

Saturday (3) Quite cloudy, but with some partial sun and/or sunny spells until two or three in the afternoon. No rain. Early- to mid afternoon high of 5° Celsius (41° Fahrenheit)

Sunday (4) Quite sunny until 4 pm, but various weather forecasters disagree as to whether or not it will be mostly cloudy until about noon. Look for a maximum temperature of around 3° Celsius (37.4° Fahrenheit) in the late afternoon. Around noon it will be 1° Celsius (33.8° Fahrenheit), which will feel more like -6° Celsius (21.2° Fahrenheit)

Monday (5) Abundantly sunny, they say. High temperature: 3° Celsius (37.4° Fahrenheit) around 2 pm. No rain.

Tuesday (6) Light clouds (or quite sunny) in the morning, and cloudier in the afternoon. No rain, but you’ll want to dress warmly. Today’s high will again not top 3° Celsius (37.4° Fahrenheit).

Wednesday (7) Cloudy, with sunny intervals in the mid-afternoon. The 2 pm high temperature of the day is 4° Celsius (39.2° Fahrenheit), but the wind chill factor turns that into -4° Celsius (24.8° Fahrenheit)

Thursday (8) Light rain or drizzle throughout the day, along with a late afternoon high of 11° Celsius (51.8° Fahrenheit)

Long-term December weather forecast: Friday December 9 through Friday December 17, 2016 High probability for a largely cloudy weather pattern — along with mild weather, and especially in the weekend from time to time some rain. At the end of this period, the chance of a colder weather pattern increases.

Note: December 2015 — with an average temperature of 9.6° Celsius (49.28° Fahrenheit) — was an unusually warm month. How unusual? Well, according to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), it was the mildest December since the Dutch started keeping track of the weather, in 1706.

It rained, but not much, and there was not a single day with snow in the entire country of the Netherlands. Highly unusual.

As always, keep in mind that the weather in Holland is notoriously unpredictable. Other than the general observations on this page, what happens in one year cannot be taken as a template for the next.

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)

Book your Amsterdam museums, excursions and activities ahead of time:

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

• 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.

• 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.


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.


  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.
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This post was last updated: Dec. 2, 2016    

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