The Netherlands, better known to us as Holland, is a beautiful country with many unique and interesting activities to keep visitors entertained. You can enjoy the colorfully enthralling fields of tulips, explore the low countries with dykes and canals, or delve into the ultra-modern metropolitan areas.
The best time to visit the Netherlands is during the high season from June to August. The weather will be cooperative and allow you to enjoy all of the attractions and events. However, the crowds will be enormous and the prices at their peak during this time of year so book early and expect delays.
The Best Times to Visit the Netherlands
If you want to enjoy the best of the Netherlands, the best time to schedule your trip is June through August. During these months, the weather is balmy and mild, and everything is open.
This is the perfect time to bike ride along the canals or along the dykes in the country. Evenings on one of the café’ terraces can be as romantic as you could ever imagine.
On the downside, the Netherlands is a huge tourist destination, and the crowds can be gigantic during this time of year. Expect to pay premium prices for everything. Delays in travel and getting into some attractions are common so plan your trip accordingly.
Worst Time to Visit the Netherlands
Most tourists avoid booking travel plans to the Netherlands from November to March. Experienced travelers look elsewhere for travel plans during the low season in the Netherlands.
The weather can be fickle, change often, and become harsh. Outdoor activities are limited and many attractions close completely during this time of year.
On the upside, there are generally no crowds to contend with and you won’t have to wait in lines to get into the best museums. Outdoor activities are a bit dicey, so you need to remain flexible in your scheduling if you plan a trip during this time of year.
Cheapest Time to Visit the Netherlands
January is probably the cheapest month to travel to the Netherlands. Airfares are usually at their lowest. Many hotels reduce their rates during January since tourists are at a minimum.
Most attractions in the cities are still open. However, some attractions in the countryside and smaller towns may be closed in January.
Even in the low season, the Netherlands is a popular tourist destination. School holidays can see a huge increase in crowds. If you want to avoid the crowd’s book early and try to time your Netherlands vacation during the middle of the week.
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Visiting the Netherlands in January
Expect cold temperatures and gloomy days during January in the Netherlands. Expect a warm day to reach a high of 45° F (7°C) and a low of 35°F (2°C).
Cold winds coming inland from the ocean can make the temperature feel much colder so pack warm clothing. Many attractions close in the winter months so check before you book your trip to make sure what you want to see is open.
- If you are in the Netherlands in late January, you can enjoy National Tulip Day. The tulip bulb, the Dutch National Symbol, was once used for money in the Netherlands.
- A warm fireplace at one of the great Dutch cafés is a great way to spend some holiday time in the Netherlands. Tyr Moeders in Amsterdam for the best split pea soup.
Visiting the Netherlands in February
The weather can continue to be cold and the days a little dark during February. Temperatures generally average from highs of 44°F (6°C) to lows of 34°F (1°C). What sunshine you can expect will be short as the days are still only a few hours long.
- If museums are your big interest, February is a great time to visit the unbelievable array of museums in the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum if perhaps the most famous featuring some of the greatest works by the Dutch Masters during the Dutch Golden Age of Art.
- If you will be in the Netherlands during February, do your best to be there for Dutch Carnival. The Vastelaovend is one of the most notable attractions during this time of year.
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Visiting the Netherlands in March
March can be a spectacular time in the Netherlands. The weather is beginning to warm, and the rains become less of a problem. You will still need to plan for temperatures with highs near 50°F (10°C) and as low as 37°F (3°C).
- March is the beginning of the strawberry season in the Netherlands. Indulge yourself with some of these fruit delights or visit one of the many cafés for a cup of coffee and a strawberry dessert.
- If nature is on your bucket list, March sees the beginnings of some of the best bird watching in Europe. Visit Lauswersmer National Park to see millions of birds in their natural habitats.
Visiting the Netherlands in April
April in the Netherlands finds spring in full swing. You can expect 14 hours of sunlight and the least amount of rainfall all year. Temperatures are moderate with highs up to 57°F (14°C) and lows averaging 41°F (5°C).
- Tulip season is in full swing. Book a tour of one of the thousands of tulip farms around the country and be dazzled by the spectacular arrays of thousands of brightly colored tulips in full bloom.
- King’s Day occurs in April. The Dutch love to celebrate and party and they will go all out for this celebration. Expect music, merriment, lots of drinking and a giant market to explore.
Visiting the Netherlands in May
The daylight hours continue to get longer, and the temperatures continue to get warmer. Overall, the temperatures will average highs of 64°F (18°C) with lows near 47°F (8°C). This can make packing a bit confusing. You should plan on some lightweight summer clothing but include some warmer layers and an umbrella.
- National Windmill Day is in May. Many of the historic windmills open their doors to visitors so make it a point to experience these national treasures in person.
- Find your way to Texel National Park for a unique experience. Continuous drifting sand dunes await where you can try your hand at sand surfing or just spend a day in the sun on a beach with no ocean.
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Visiting the Netherlands in June
June is the beginning of the high season in the Netherlands and tourists from around the world begin to flock to the country. You can expect up to 17 hours of sunshine during June and temperatures ranging from highs of 68°F (20°C) to lows at night of 52°F (11°C).
- June is festival month in Holland. There is something going on almost all the time and it can be difficult to choose which one to attend. If there is one not to miss it is Pinkpop. You can find music, performance, art, and food in abundance at this amazing festival.
- June is the perfect time to explore the Netherlands by bicycle. Rentals are available almost everywhere and the cities are well suited to bicycle wandering.
Visiting the Netherlands in July
July, like June, is sunshiny and made of being outdoors in the Netherlands. Temperatures are expected to reach highs of 72°F (22°C) and the evenings are cool and comfortable with lows nearing 56°F (13°C). Pack a jacket or sweater along with your umbrella.
- July is the time for the Summer Festival (Vierdaagsefeesten) more popularly known as Zomerfeesten. You can enjoy one of the longest-running outdoor festivals in the Netherlands with a most unique character.
- If you like your music a bit more traditional, make plans to attend the North Sea Jazz Festival. The greatest names in jazz music from around the world perform here but tickets can be hard to secure so start your planning early.
Visiting the Netherlands in August
Unlike many places, August in the Netherlands is a pleasant month. Temperatures are beginning to moderate with highs averaging 72°F (22°C) and nighttime lows nearing 55°F (13°C). Many Dutch people take their holidays in August so some smaller businesses and attractions may be closed.
- Make a trip to Sneek for Sneekweek. This is one of the largest sailing events in the world held on inland waters and not to be missed. You might even pick up a crew spot from a friendly captain needing some extra hands.
- The annual Pride Parade happens in August in Amsterdam. This promises to be one of the most colorful and unique parades you will ever attend. We aren’t sure this is a great event for small children.
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Visiting the Netherlands in September
Technically, summer is over in the Netherlands, but the weather remains beautiful for a few more weeks. September can be a great time to visit when you will enjoy temperatures with highs of 66°F (19°C) and evening lows that can get down to 51°F (11°C).
- The Nederlands Film Festival held in September is the chance to see some of the best work of both established filmmakers and the newest up-and-coming artists.
- September is a great time to see the Netherlands from the water. Book a sail or cruising adventure with one of the many charter companies that operate throughout the Netherlands.
Visiting the Netherlands in October
Autumn is just around the corner in the Netherlands in October. One of the biggest changes is the riot of colors as the trees begin to change. Temperatures range from highs of 59°F (15°C) to nighttime lows nearing 46°F (8°C). Low season prices are beginning to show up, so this is a great time to travel.
- Plan a trip to Leiden and you will find a plethora of museums to keep you entertained for days. Leiden also has canals, 17th-century architecture, and vibrant nightlife to explore.
- October is also the time for the Amsterdam Dane Event. Contests, demonstrations, and dance lessons are all on the agenda for this attraction. Pack your dancing shoes.
Visiting the Netherlands in November
With the low season in full swing, reduced rates are everywhere. Many cultural events are scheduled in November and the Christmas season starts near the middle of the month. Temperatures remain moderate for the most part with highs nearing 50°F (10°C) but dropping near 40°F (4°C) in the evenings and at night.
- If you want to experience the cutting edge in music and art, a visit to Le Guess Who, is a must. This festival of music and art is considered a participatory event so be ready to immerse yourself in the activities and the surroundings.
- Sinterklaas, the Dutch Santa Claus, celebrates his holiday for more than a month but focuses it on November. Parades, celebrations, and activities of all kinds happen throughout the country making this an exciting time to visit the Netherlands.
Visiting the Netherlands in December
December offers a completely different look at the Netherlands. Winter is in full swing, and temperatures can get very chilly. Highs barely reach 45°F (7°C) and often reach lows of 35°F (2°C). However, the cold weather brings a new range of activities and options for your visit.
- Weather permitting, try your hand (or feet as the case may be) at ice skating on the canals in the Netherlands. Rent a pair of skates and you will soon be gliding across the ice.
- If you can manage to spend the later part of the month in the Netherlands, you can find some spectacular fireworks displays on New Years’ Eve as well as huge tent parties all over the cities.