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How to survive Autumn in the Netherlands

Date:12 October 2018
Best part of Autumn: the technicolored leaves
Best part of Autumn: the technicolored leaves

Winter is coming... and if it's your first autumn/winter in the North it can be daunting. But these tips should help you survive and thrive.

1. Be like an onion: wear lots of layers -

be prepared to be layering your clothes as the weather begins to drop. Bundle yourself up with sweaters, scarves, gloves and jackets. The temperature can change a lot throughout the day, the mornings will be cold and the afternoons will be mild - so having a lot of layers on will allow you to adjust to the bipolar Dutch weather without overheating or freezing. If you don’t have any (nice) winter clothes - here is a reason to shop. You’re welcome.

An actual representation of autumn in the Netherlands
An actual representation of autumn in the Netherlands

2. Shine bright -

the days are getting shorter, and as soon as daylight savings kicks in, it’ll be dark before you even leave your last class of the day. So make sure you stock up on bike lights before you get caught off guard by the darkness and get a €60 fine for not having lights on your bike. Stock up on a lot of bike lights because you will definitely lose them or someone will steal them (just don’t be that person who steals bike lights)

3. Adapt to the bipolar weather -

invest in a good umbrella and rain jacket and pants and keep them close to battle the terrible autumn rain. Like I said, the weather is ever-changing (if you’re ever caught in a rain storm, 9/10 times it’ll be over within 5 minutes), so while you might think that it will be a nice day in the morning, you’ll be blindsided by a drizzle-rain-wind storm in the afternoon. If you feel like you’re too cool for rain pants - accept you’ll be damp all day. But the rain isn’t all bad - as soon as you’re inside you can enjoy the sound of rain falling while watching movies (bad weather is always a good reason for a movie night).

Try to be as prepared as this cat
Try to be as prepared as this cat

4. Get your vitamins -

the lack of sunlight and the cloudy weather can restrict our daily dose of vitamin D. It’s important that you don’t get a deficiency in this as it can really impact how fit you feel. If there isn’t much sunlight around, make sure you get it another way, like by eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel at least twice a week. You can also get vitamin D through mushrooms, eggs and any type of milk (cow, goat, soy, almond) or you can get some vitamin pills. - or you can just go on holiday for the winter months.

5. Find reasons to throw parties -

throughout Autumn there are a lot of holidays that you can celebrate. While Halloween is an American holiday, student culture in the Netherlands has begun to adopt it, so there will a lot of Halloween-themed parties at the end of October. At the beginning of December, we Dutchies celebrate Sinterklaas (you’ve probably noticed the chocolate letters and pepernoten in the stores). Also - we’re slowly but surely inching our way towards Christmas break (yay!).

6. Find a new (indoor!) sport to keep that summer body -

the colder months may demotivate you to keep in shape (completely understandable) but it's good to keep exercising because it will make you feel more fit and happy. Try to find an indoor sport that you like so you don’t have to exercise outside anymore! I advise to follow a course at the ACLO like boxing or pilates.

7. Activities -

embrace the autumn wonderland and try to make the best of the cold. Like I mentioned: movie nights with lots of blankets and scented candles, sweater shopping, technicolored leaves, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spiced everything (like scented candles).

It's that time of year again
It's that time of year again

So if you’ve never experienced cold weather before, good luck with bundling up and try to make the most of it, because it isn’t all bad! Autumn is actually my favorite season (I own about 45 sweaters so I am very excited for this time of the year), but I just love complaining about the weather.


About the author

Hey! I’m Danique, a Dutch/American studying International Relations and International Organizations with a mild obsession with coffee, cats, and rowing. If you can’t find me, look for the girl (almost always) wearing pink and writing blogs.


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