There are a couple of things you should think about before you choose what to wear in Amsterdam, or the rest of the Netherlands. First of all, while the Dutch definitely encourage people to dress according to their personal taste and personality, usually they don’t get too crazy with their outfits themselves.
There is a popular phrase saying ‘Doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg‘, that roughly translates as: ‘just act normal, then you’re acting silly enough‘. The Dutch like to be original and trendy for sure, but they don’t want to stand out too much from the crowd.
So in general, I would advice to not go too wild with your colours and accessories, not even when you go out for drinks, unless it’s something like a big themed dance party where you’ve bought tickets for.
I often get the question: What do people wear in Amsterdam when they go out? Well, It is quite normal to go to a local bar on the weekend wearing your jeans (even as a girl) with a simple top. Heels not too high, or no heels at all, because most Dutch girls are huge, so we don’t bother that much about them.
When I moved to Sydney and even now in London, I was always amazed at what people wear when they go out on a weekend, lots of high heels and miniskirts and nobody seemed to wear a coat anywhere! This is so different in the Netherlands, probably because it’s usually quite cold at night. We always wear a coat when we go out, and most places will have a cloakroom or little hooks on the walls or under the bar for you to leave your stuff. No need to be cold!
Here is a short Amsterdam City Guide with Tips on things to wear and what not to wear in Amsterdam:
What we'll cover in this article
Practical Clothing in the Netherlands
The Dutch are a very practical bunch of people. Most people, when asking them what to wear in Holland will tell you: a raincoat should stop you from getting wet, a bag should carry all your crap, a sweater should keep you warm. Simple as that, right?
So, one of the most important things with Dutch clothing is that you want to be prepared for any type of weather. You will never quite know what to expect when leaving the house. Work in layers, so you can peel off or put something on. Don’t forget your umbrella, gloves and scarf, especially in fall and winter!
What to Wear to Amsterdam for Work in Holland
If you’re wondering about how to dress in Amsterdam for a job, then no need to be nervous! Most work places in the Netherlands are quite casual, so you can wear pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t show too much flesh, really. I worked on a couple of primary schools and there wasn’t really a dress code. Common sense is expected.
The dress code in Amsterdam for larger companies is similar: My brother works for a bigger IT company and he can still wear jeans and a sweater to work, with the occasional suit (jacket and tie not always needed) with client meetings or networking events. Yeah, the Dutch are a casual bunch!
In most shops people are dressed casual and the more bigger bars and restaurants usually require the standard black pants/shoes with white shirt or company shirt.
Do Dutch People Wear Clogs / Wooden Shoes?
Yes and No.
On a normal day and in the cities, no, we definitely don’t wear clogs. They are very uncomfortable and, well… not so fashionable.
But in the more rural parts of the country or when working in the garden, you can definitely still see people wearing them. I have a pair myself and have always worn them as a kid in our vegetable garden, a bit outside of the city center in Amsterdam.
They are great for the outdoors, because when you’re working with tools or heavy animals like cows and horses, they won’t hurt your toes when stepping/falling on them. I think that’s pretty much the only reason you’d use them, because as I said, they are very uncomfortable. You have to wear very thick, woolen socks in them to actually walk in them. It requires a bit of practice, haha. You also have plastic clogs, which are more comfortable.
If you want to grab a pair, go to any tourist shop or places like the ‘Waterlooplein Market’ in Amsterdam and pick up a pair. Those are the same we would use (although we would get cheaper ones at the garden center), they are not just fun for decoration! The traditional ones are the yellow/blank wood ones (see in the background on the photo below), but you can get them in any colour these days. They are also fun to hang upside-down on your wall and put flowers in them!
Amsterdam What to Wear in Each Month?
Here is a quick overview of temperatures and suited clothing per month:
What to wear in Amsterdam in January?
January is the coldest month in most of the Netherlands, with an average temperature of 2,7ºC (36,68ºF). Pack warm clothes, such as a winter proof/waterproof coat or jacket, a hat, scarf and gloves. Dress in layers, restaurants are well-heated.
What to wear in Amsterdam in February?
February is the coldest month to spend in Amsterdam. It’s also one of the driest months, so that’s the good news. Average high temperature is 6°C (42,8°F), and average low is 0,5°C (32,9°F). Remember that wind and fog can make it feel much, much colder than that! Like January, bring warm clothes including long-sleeved sweaters, sweats, and a winter proof coat or jacket and dress in layers!
What to wear in Amsterdam in March?
In March, the weather is very erratic and can range from dull, drab and cold to bright, sunny and ‘warm’ for the time of the year. Expect brief showers and temperatures between 1°C and 10°C (33,8°F and 50°F). Keep dressing warm like previous months, dress in layers and make sure to bring rain gear!
What to wear in Amsterdam in April?
April is usually also one of the driest months of the year, but April weather can see sharp contrasts. We have a saying that goes ‘April does what he wants’, so that can be anything from sunshine to snow on the ground. Not kidding! The flowers are out now, so if you want to see tulips and the like, this is the time to go! Dress in layers so you can add or subtract something if and when the weather changes. Bring your umbrella!
What to wear in Amsterdam in May?
May often is the sunniest month of the year, but this month also tends to have as many cold days as it has warm days. In recent years the months of April and May have been rather mild, sunny and dry. Average lows are 7,2° C (45° F) and average highs are 18°C (64,4°F). Bring your T-shirts/tops and summer-type skirts and dresses — but also something slightly warmer for chilly evenings and sunny but chilly days. Jeans are always good!
What to wear in Amsterdam in June?
June is a good month to visit Amsterdam. Overall you can expect quite a bit of sunshine, average temperatures are 15°C (59°F). Bring an umbrella, just in case. For the most past it’s shorts/skirts and T-shirts. Bring jeans if you’d like and a light jacket.
What to wear in Amsterdam in July?
July generally is the warmest month of the year in Amsterdam, with temperatures ranging between nighttime lows of 13°C (54°F) and midday highs around 22°C (72°F). You can pretty much count on warm weather, and even when it rains it never quite gets cold. Bring on the summer dresses, shorts and sunglasses!
What to wear in Amsterdam in August?
August is the sunniest of the three summer months, but also the wettest, so run into a cafe when it starts pouring down (usually not that long, so umbrella not really needed). Average lows are 12° C (54°F) and Average highs are 22°C (72°F). Still perfect to wear your favourite summer wardrobe!
What to wear in Amsterdam in September?
Not until the end of the month will it really become fall/autumn in The Netherlands, so until around the 21st, you can count on a little tail of the Summer months. This is one of the best months to visit Amsterdam actually! Make sure you bring light rain gear (strong umbrella needed, the winds are quite hard), but definitely dress in layers. The weather changes a lot, but stays quite mild. Average lows and highs in September: 11,7/19,7°C (53,06/67,46°F) in the beginning of the month to around 10,2/17,7°C (50,36/63,86°F) at the end of the month.
What to wear in Amsterdam in October?
Normal Lows and High in October are from around 9,2-16°C (48,56-60,8°F) at the beginning of the month to around 6,6-12,8°C (43,88-55,04°F) at the end of the month. It really can be bright and sunny one moment and cloudy and rain showers the next… So bring an umbrella for sure! Also, humid air and strong wind can make the weather in Amsterdam feel colder than it actually is, so dress up with a wind- and waterproof jacket, and layer up. Wear good closed shoes as well.
What to wear in Amsterdam in November?
November is really the crazy weather month, with lots of wind and cold, drizzly rain. But then some days are sunny again, who knows?! It’s still the wettest month of the year, so bring a good raincoat (and a strong umbrella if you dare) and some waterproof shoes and warm clothing. Average lows are around 4,1–9,3°C (39,38–48,74°F). Brrr.
What to wear in Amsterdam in December?
If you see sunshine in Amsterdam during the month of December, lucky you! This month is the darkest of the year and definitely the start of Winter with lots of rain or even wet snow. But, it’s not the coldest or rainiest month. December can be bone-chillingly cold, especially when it’s windy, so dress warm! Must-have is a winter-proof, waterproof coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
The Most Important Clothing Rule in The Netherlands
Last, but absolutely not least, when you’re picking out your wardrobe for The Netherlands, there is one rule everyone should follow:
Your outfit should be BIKE-PROOF!
Whether you’re going to work, doing groceries, picking up your child from school or going clubbing, you’ll probably go there on your bike. Not kidding.
So always make sure that you’re ready to hit the ‘steel horse‘ (‘stalen ros’), as we like to call it and always wear something that is fashionable ánd ‘cyclable‘!
I hope this short guide helps with the answer on how do people dress in Amsterdam! Now tell us, what is you most decent piece of clothing? And more importantly: Can you cycle in it?
Read more about the Mini Cruise Amsterdam via Newcastle: www.thetraveltester.com/mini-cruise-amsterdam-to-newcastle
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