I truly think that the Netherlands is a nice country to live in. The friendly people, the beautiful countryside, the charming houses in Dutch cities… When it comes to the weather though, things get a bit more complicated. It seems as if we would get 50 shades of grey – in terms of weather! Although it is fair to say that the Dutch weather topic can get quite dramatic!

If you have arrived in Utrecht a little while ago, I hope your life as a new international student in this great city has kept you busy enough not to think about the Dutch weather. But be prepared: From whichever corner of the world you may come from, the weather here is likely to beat that of your own country (in terms of greyness, cold, windiness). For all of you who have been here for the past couple of months, the wonderful weather may have already triggered feelings of anger, sadness or nostalgia (especially caused by all those travel pictures in your Instagram feed).

And I think we can all agree that it has been annoyingly windy lately. As soon as you think the period of storms is over and you can finally bike at a normal pace again, you hear a new name for another forecasted wave of strong winds. If these days the weather’s your best excuse for leaving out a gym session or for ordering food from home, believe me, you’re not alone! However, let’s face it: Crawling into bed and staying there until the weather gets better, is not a realistic option! That’s why I collected some ideas which might help you overcome the winter blues!

Bad weather is not always bad news! There are bright sides to the not-so-bright days:

#1 You always have something to talk about

If we look at it this way: the Dutch weather can be the perfect ice-breaker for any conversation! You want to start a conversation while you’re… Sitting in a waiting room, standing at the coffee machine or you saw a nice looking Dutchie and don’t know how to approach her/him? Complaining about the weather will get your conversation going!

#2 You can lose the winter blues!

Without getting too dramatic about it, it is well-known that people living in northern climates tend to have less energy or motivation for activities during the winter months. In case you can relate to this, my tip is to try not to let the weather influence your mood. I know this is easier said than done, but there are still tons of fun activities to do inside! From a cosy dinner, to a sleepover with friends or a game night, to a night out, discovering new bars, cinemas or clubs, you have plenty of exciting options (of course you can always check out the activities ESN organises for you 😉)! If you now and then let go of the urge to hibernate, you’ll see that spending quality time with friends will distract you and make you feel more upbeat!

And let’s be honest, this is the period of nasty cravings for anything unhealthy (cookies, gingerbread, chips, pizza, and the list goes on…). Obviously, we shouldn’t overdo it, but from time to time… as long as they’re not the only things that boost our mood!

#3 Here comes the sun…

Even though we can all dream about a sunny and warm place, that doesn’t even closely compare to absorbing the sunshine on a blue-sky day! And although this seems to be a rather rare event, when the sun does decide to come out, allowing us to fill up our vitamin D supply, you will appreciate it even more! No matter how cold, on a sunny day it is likely that people will sit on terraces, in parks or along the canals, which gives a different vibe to the city and makes these days rather special! So, make sure to enjoy them to the fullest by going on a daytrip or simply for a stroll through the city!   

#4 You can be proud of yourself

You have already survived a couple of weeks or even months of typical Dutch weather! Don’t forget that this is part of your Dutch experience! Every time you manage to motivate yourself to get out there, although the weather seems to be against you, be proud! You’ve been cycling in rough condition? Be proud and embrace the actual satisfaction that comes with a rough ride 😉

#4 You’re not bound to stay

If you’re really tired of the seemingly never-ending storm/rain combination, you can always keep in mind that the Netherlands is not far from so many interesting destinations. Although there is never a real guarantee that the weather will be better elsewhere, a little bit of culture and sightseeing will bring you out of your routine and will surely be a source of new energy!

# Heads up! It can only get better!

By Naomi Hayoun