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Amsterdam weather in May

Oudeschans canal in Amsterdam
Originally a defense moat, the Oudeschans (‘Old Rampart’) — with the 16th-century Montelbaanstoren — is a picturesque canal in the center of Amsterdam. Photo by Anton Hein, taken on a typical day 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.

However, May also tends to have as many chilly days as it has warm days. Speaking of which: thus far the weather in May 2021 hasn’t been all that kind to us. Come to think of it, that is the trend this Spring.

At night there can even be some frost, particularly in the first half of the month — though if 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 North sea.

Amsterdam Weather Forecast for May, 2021

Updated May 19, 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 — Scattered light rain showers, at times with some thunder and lightning, most of the day. Exception: a few hours of sunny intervals (about 40%) around midafternoon. Sunnier intervals (about 80% sunshine) arrive in the early evening until sunset, which today occurs at 21:34 (9:34 pm). Afternoon high 12° C (53.6 F).

Thursday, May 20, 2021 — Sunny intervals (±40% sunshine) from early morning through midafternoon. However, there’s a 30% chance of scattered light rain showers from late morning until midafternoon. Cloudier or overcast from midafternoon on. Early afternoon high temperature 15° C (59° F).

Friday, May 21, 2021 — Scattered light rain showers from before daybreak — lasting all day, all night, and pretty much all day tomorrow. For most of the day there will be sunny intervals as well, with about 40-50% sunshine. Late afternoon high 14° C (57.2° F).

Saturday, May 22, 2021 — The streak of scattered light rain showers that started yesterday morning continues until midevening today. There may be some sunny intervals (about 40% sunshine) in late morning and in the evening, though. Late afternoon high 12° C (53.6° F).

Sunday, May 23, 2021 — Another stretch of scattered light rain showers — from before daybreak until midnight tomorrow. Mostly overcast. Early afternoon high temperature 12° C (53.6° F).

Monday, May 24, 2021 — Scattered light rain showers all day, along with sunny intervals (30-40% sunshine) from late morning until sunset. Afternoon high 12° C (53.6° F).

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 — Sunny intervals (40-80% sunshine) all day. Also, a 50% chance of scattered light rain showers from late morning until midevening. Afternoon high 12° C (53.6° F).

Long Range Forecast

Wednesday May 26, 2021 — Wednesday June 2, 2021: Transition to a drier weather pattern. Probably (70-80% chance) still cool for the time of year. Around the turn of the month, the chance of warmer weather with temperatures above 20° C increases to 40%.

Amsterdam Weather in Other Months

Here’s the kind of weather you can expect in June
The weather in other months

Average Low and High Temperatures in May

Normal Average Low and High Temperatures in May in Amsterdam
DateMinimumMaximum
May 1-107.3° Celsius (45.14° Fahrenheit)15.9° Celsius (60.6° Fahrenheit)
May 11-208.4#176; Celsius (47.1° Fahrenheit)17.4° Celsius (63.3° Fahrenheit)
May 21-309.2° Celsius (48.6° Fahrenheit)18° Celsius (64.4° Fahrenheit)

What to Wear in Amsterdam in May

You’ll need to consider the updated weather situation as described above, but normally this is what you’d bring:

Pack short-sleeved T-shirts or tops, and summer-type skirts and dresses. But you’ll also need something warmer for chilly evenings and for 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.

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 or drink at a brown café, a coffeehouse/coffeeshop. or a deli.

Things to Do in Amsterdam in May

Normally during the month of May lots of tourists visit Amsterdam. You’ll want to book skip-the-line tickets, museums, excursions, and activities ahead of time. Not just to assure availability, but also because you don’t want to waste your precious vacation time standing in line.

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Amsterdam Tips for May

  • Sunny days are perfect for taking postcard-quality photos — especially now that the trees are in leaf. 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 to visit some of Amsterdam’s 50+ museums
  • A bad weather day is also perfect for a visit to the cinema 1. We highly recommend a visit to the unique EYE Film Institute, or to Tuschinski — the most beautiful cinema in the world.

May is the Sunniest Month, But…

Even though May is the sunniest month of the year, it won’t always be sunny. Here Amsterdam’s cruise ship terminal is shown under an overcast sky.

On sunny days you can expect up to 10 hours of sunshine, though on average we’ll see about 8 hours of sunshine a day. It helps that in this part of the world in May sunset occurs at about 10 past 9 at the start of the month — and shortly before 10 pm at the end of the month.

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

Where Our Weather Information Comes From

Our weather information is based on long-term averages as reported by various meteorological services, including the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

Notes:

  1. In the Netherlands, most movies on TV and in the cinema are shown in their original language, with Dutch subtitles.
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About This Article

Category: Weather
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Last updated: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 9:33 AM, Central European Time (CET)   
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