Hello, and welcome to BAISmag’s The Student Diaries, a comprehensive-ish guide to moving to The Netherlands as an international student! Our third article focuses on another Dutch icon: the weather.
I’m sure you’ve already heard plenty about the wonderful Dutch weather. “Is it all rainy doom and gloom?” you might ask. Well, not necessarily, but let’s just say that things here can get “Wet ‘n Wild”. Going by rainfall totals, The Netherlands doesn’t get that much rain at just 790 mm a year on average. It does however, rain very frequently, with 137 days of rain a year. This means that the sun only shines every other day. And despite the weather mostly staying mild, the odd storm system can still wreak havoc (shout-out to storm Eunice for decapitating the lamp post next to my apartment building). Reactions to this kind of weather are mixed. It irritates Tyler (from the US) and Francesca (from Italy), who say that the rain complicates everyday tasks like travel. But Niamh, who, after growing up in the Netherlands, has lived in and traveled all over Europe, says that it actually isn’t too bad! In fact, she appreciates the Dutch approach, with them going out and enjoying themselves no matter what the weather has in store for them.
How Can I Prepare?
Whether you love Dutch weather, or are still learning to love it, there are a few things you can do to make those rainy days a little more enjoyable.
- Gear Up
To win the battle against the wind and the wet, you’re gonna need proper clothes. Invest in a good rain coat. In addition to looking for something water resistant, make sure it holds up to the wind. The wind is more of a threat than the rain, so make sure your coat leaves you well protected against it. Good shoes are also of the utmost importance, especially in the winter. While winter temperatures typically don’t drop much below freezing, the humidity and wind can make the outdoors feel like an icebox. If you’d like to keep all your toes this winter, buy shoes that are well insulated. They should also ideally be made of rubber or leather i.e. something that’s not regular cloth, so that they don’t get soaked through. Also, take care of your big brain and buy a warm hat.
- Be Prepared for the Worst Case Scenario
This one is simple: don’t be an optimist when it comes to the weather. If it looks like it might rain, bring a jacket or an umbrella. If it’s a bit chilly when you step out, pack an extra layer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Rain-proof Your Life
Once you’re all dripped out (no pun intended) in your new rain gear, it’s time to expand your horizons and start rain-proofing other parts of your life. A great place to start is with your bike. Let’s be honest, no one likes a wet butt. Buying a seat cover means that even after a storm, your tush will stay nice and dry during the ride to uni. Do you know what every person with a butt also has? That’s right, groceries. Buying plastic, rain resistant, reusable bags for your groceries is also recommended, because you’ll most likely be biking home with them in the rain, and it’s doubtful that a soggy, waterlogged loaf of bread is your idea of a good lunch.
- Learn to Get Wet
Despite your best efforts, you will eventually get wet. You will also soon learn that taking walks while it’s drizzling is actually quite refreshing, and that late night biking in a downpour with your friends makes for some hilarious situations. Embrace the rain and all the memories that come with it.
You have conquered the rain. You are waterproof, you are invincible, you are…. a little bit homesick? Homesickness is a painful but natural part of moving abroad. Stay tuned for our next article to learn how to keep those blues at bay.
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