The Best Times to Go to Holland

When it comes to planning a vacation, deciding what time of year to go is very important in terms of your mood on the trip and the amount of fun opportunities that come with that time. If you’re currently trying to plan a trip of Holland, there are various factors that need to be taken into consideration. The weather there is fickle and different times of the year come with different attractions, so it is important to do your research beforehand.

So let’s start by talking about one of the factors that tends to be one of the most important on every tourist’s list— the weather.

Holland just so happens to be one of those "If you don't like the weather, wait for a minute" places. Summer temperatures are balmy and pleasant, usually not rising above 75°F (24°C), with July and August in particular being noticeably warmer than the rest of the year. This allows for great outdoor activities during both the day and evening.

Contrary to popular belief about Holland held by those in many other parts of the world, the temperature rarely dips below freezing in winter in most parts of the country— including Amsterdam. This is because much of the country is situated below sea level, so even though on a map it is pretty far up in the Northern Hemisphere, it isn’t prone the biting freezing temperatures that affect those at higher elevations.

Throughout the year, however, precipitation is to be expected. Average annual rainfall is about 25 inches. Most of Holland’s precipitation falls between November and January, but substantial showers can occur throughout the year. And of course, be aware that fog and mist, along with general dampness, are well known to Holland residents even in warmer months.

No matter what time of the year it is that you visit, be sure to bring clothes that can be layered. You’ll also want to invest in a good, fold-up umbrella and raincoat. After all, it is better to have these things and not need them than to need them and find you do not have them. You’ll be able to buy them there, if you need to of course, but why spend the extra money? Besides, as a tourist you may also risk someone trying to sell you a cheap souvenir in lieu of a real, sturdy umbrella that is going to last.

Aside from the weather, holidays should also be taken into consideration. These are the holidays when you can expect banks, public transportation, government offices, shops, and many attractions to be closed or on limited hours: New Year's Day (Jan 1); Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Koninginnedag (the Queen's Day, which is Queen Beatrix's official birthday is Apr 30), Pinksteren (Pentecost Mon), Christmas Day (Dec 25), and of course the day following Christmas on December 26.

Now, if you’re like most tourists, you may be wondering specifically about Amsterdam. This famous city does have an "In season" time period, which in Amsterdam typically lasts from about mid-April to mid-October, when the weather is warmer. The tourist season peaks when the weather is at its best, in the months of July and August. So if weather affects how good of a time you have, this is important information to know.  

Still, if we’re taking on economic terms, it really doesn’t matter that much what time of the year you go, though of course there are pros and cons to each season. However, you’re much more likely to save money during the “off season” months, when airlines, hotels, and other travel necessities are cheaper and less crowded with other tourists. If you plan on going during the warmer months you may find that there are more seasonal attractions, but be aware that you’ll probably have to book accommodations months in advance.

Restaurants and other attractions also can often be found to have better deals during the colder months. In Amsterdam, you’ll also get a better view of the canals during this time of year, as the trees that border them shed their leaves during this time. They’ll also be much easier to book at this time in general, on account of you having to compete with fewer people. If you decide to go just before the main tourist season starts, you may also get some addition bonuses. For example, the bulb fields near Amsterdam are bursting with color between April and mid-May.

As long as you do the proper research beforehand (and reading this is an excellent start), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be prepared for your trip to Holland regardless of the time of year. Just remember to pack for the changing weather, and don’t be discouraged by a little rain. This is Holland, and it is beautiful in all kinds of weather.