If you've spent any time at all in the Netherlands, you know the weather is an unpredictable, ever-changing, intensively-discussed part of everyday life. Cloudy and rainy spells are talked about by exasperated, damp Dutchies in cafes, classrooms, and offices throughout the country. When the sun does come out, the Dutch flock to outdoor terraces and move their living room furniture outside to soak up every drop. The differences in the weather you see after spending a few years in this cheese-loving nation are also fascinating. Everyone still remembers the last time it froze enough to have the Elfstedentocht, a
world nationally-famous skating extravanganza where skaters follow a 120 mile long route between 11 cities connected by ice. The last time the race had enough ice to take place was back in 1997. The freeze of 2012 (see photo above) came close to allow the race and excitement in the country hit a fever pitch. Alas, there was not quite enough ice to allow the race to safely take place but every time there is a cold spell in January or February, the ice experts come out again to see if the race would finally be possible!
Fast foward a few years to February 2019 and the Netherlands is experiencing one of the warmest February's on record. With daily highs in the upper 40s and 50s, fields of flowers all over Amsterdam have come out early to celebrate the return of the sun. While many of the ice-loving Dutchies are disappointed, the sun's appearance in the Netherlands is always a welcome sight. The temperatures are holding steady for the foreseeable future so the end of winter may already be in the past. We'll all just have to hold our collective breath next year when the temperature drops.