Spring is my absolute favorite season in the Netherlands. It’s not the high season, so things are far less crowded (except for King’s Day). There is still rain, because well… its the Netherlands. But April is apparently the driest month in the year, so that’s a plus. It’s not that cold so you can start wearing cute clothes again.
The weather becomes bearable again, at an average of 8°C (48°F) in March, 11°C (53°F) in April, and 16°C (61°F) in May. Humidity in the Netherlands is not low with an yearly average of 84.0%, but May is the least humid month at approximatly 75% humidity (for those of you who straighten your hair).
Also after so many months of grey and blehhhh, there is an explosion of color around the city. It’s so beautiful! Seriously, I can go on and on about how amazing spring is in Amsterdam.
Deciding what to wear can be difficult since the weather can be erratic from day to day or even throughout the day. So along with a good weather app that shows hour by hour forecasting, there are certain things necessary on a trip to Amsterdam.
Dutch Fashion and Style
If you are only staying in Amsterdam for a short period of time, its best to pack light since you can easily transition a daytime look to an evening look.
As for fashion, the Dutch tend to like more of a casual style. Jeans, sneakers, and boots are most commonly worn, even on a night out. The Dutch do not get dressed up too much and the make-up style is quite minimal. Women in Amsterdam often wear make-up that is hard to detect. Often just wearing BB cream, filled in brows, slight blush, mascara and a tiny bit of lipstick or tinted lip balm. The “natural” look is preferred.
Dutch women also tend to have a more modest clothing style, not super conservative but not very tight, extremely short or revealing. Very chic and somewhat minimalist.
In spring, you will find many women wearing leather jackets, ankle boots, white sneakers. Simple, basic colors are also very popular. So if you want to blend in, it’s easy.
Don’t be afraid to stand out, if that’s your thing. People in Amsterdam are accustomed to seeing people wearing all types of styles even banana costumes at 10 am. (On the way to a job interview a few years back at 7:30 am, I saw a woman walking from the central station by herself wearing a wedding dress and a bright blue coat.)
The city is pretty laid back.
Clothing and Accessories: What to bring to and why?
Jeans – It really depends on how much you plan on wearing your jeans without washing them. Bring enough so that if one pair get soaked, you will have an extra to wear. If you are renting a bike, its good to have a pair.
T-shirts/Blouses – Bringing a mix of short and long sleeve shirts is perfect for the unpredictable weather.
Sweater/Cardigan – It’s still a bit cold (especially at night) so you will need this layer to keep warm.
Dresses – Great for a night out, and paired with a leather jacket for the daytime.
Leggings/Tights – To go with the dress since it’s not warm enough to wear the dress without a pair.
Jacket – A lightweight jacket is perfect for the spring weather.
Sneakers – You’ll need these for walking, riding a bike or running after trams. Even though the city is flat, comfortable shoes are necessary since some parts of the city have sidewalks that are a little difficult to walk on with heels.
Boots – A pair of waterproof boots are perfect for the rainy days so that your feet won’t be soaked.
Scarf – A light scarf is perfect for the colder spring days.
Purse/Backpack – Something waterproof and big enough to carry everything that you need but nothing too huge.
Umbrella – If you have space in your suitcase, an umbrella that can handle a bit of wind. If you do not have room then either you can buy one for €5-€10 euros in many places around the cities. Also, depending on the hotel, they may provide umbrellas for their customers.
What not to bring, don’t over pack
The majority of the products that you have at home can be bought anywhere within the city. The packaging will be in Dutch, but almost everyone speaks English so you can just ask the people working in the stores for exactly what you want. So you can save space in your luggage.
Leave your obvious tourist attire at home. Not that you can’t bring a camera or other items, but standing out as a tourist leaves you more vulnerable to getting scammed or being targeted.
Thin heels might be a bad idea. On many of my nights out, I would see tourists try their best to walk in these types of shoes. Many of them would fall, and get their shoe stuck in the gaps of the cobblestones. Bring a pair with a thicker heel if you want to wear heels.
Enjoy your stay in Amsterdam and don’t wander into the bike lanes!