Tropic of Netherlands

Zomer in Utrecht
Summer temperatures here in the Netherlands tend to be quite a bit cooler than what I grew up with in Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana. There, high 80s Fahrenheit/30s Celcius was normal, if not actually on the low side during the long summer months. However, despite how common it was, I never handled those temperatures well at all. Headaches, sickness, heat stroke and sunburn were all part of my normal life every summer, to the point that nowadays I have an almost pathological fear of warm temperatures without easy access to air conditioning.

All of this is to say that the Netherlands is hitting tropical temperatures this weekend, expected to go over 30C all weekend. It hasn’t gone over 30C since 1994, to help put things in perspective. Of course, considering these kinds of temperatures are rare, it might not come as a surprise that air conditioning is pretty rare here. That’s not to say that I’m fine with stores not having AC. When you have to walk or bike everywhere, you get warm, and then you can’t even go inside a store to cool off while running errands. I know lots of Europeans don’t seem to like AC, but if my love of AC brands me as an American, that’s fine by me.

The whole country is making lots of plans to cope with the weather, supposedly laying on more trains and transport to get people to the beaches, as well as more police to handle the increased traffic. Here in Utrecht, I noticed an announcement that said that the outdoor terraces that many cafés and restaurants have will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. this weekend. Usually they have to close around midnight or 1 a.m. The extra hour is to give people as much time outdoors as possible, where it may be cooler.

Of course, that means our neighborhood is going to be louder for longer, and since we have to rely on one open window to keep things cool — while living down the street from three cafés — it’s bound to be a bit noisy tonight. In theory, I wouldn’t mind, except for the fact that I’ve been awake since 2 a.m. this morning. Ah! Insomnia! I’m just hoping that tiredness will trump heat and noise tonight and allow me to have a good night’s sleep.

Of course, if you’re not like me and don’t mind the heat — and if you’re in Utrecht — head to Park Lepelenburg (pictured above) Sunday afternoon for a mini music festival. I think there will also be music at the Griftpark that day. Just remember to wear sunscreen!

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19 thoughts on “Tropic of Netherlands

  1. hey, I hear you big time. Granted, the heat here is nothing like Massachusetts where they were in the high 90’s for many days. But I am dreading this hot weather. I agree with you about the stores not having AC, I love going into a cool store. Now I look for some kind of fan in the ceiling and stand under that. You have all those hot sweaty Dutch bodies that have biked to do their shopping, and now everyone is all together without AC! Not a pretty image.
    I am planning on drinking lots of water, barely being dressed (unless it becomes a legal issue) and not leaving the direct view of the fan.
    I bet the Dutch would love some ice now….

    • Knowing I’m from the south, everything thinks I should love the heat, or at least handle it better. But nope. But at least we had AC to make it easier to bear! 🙂 I’ve been known to hover under the small AC vent in the local Albert Heijn a few times. Stay cool this weekend!

  2. Unlike Jane, I love the heat. My theory is, suck it up while you can because a Dutch summer never lasts long. At the little British store at the Steenstraat I bought Country lemonade for 8 euros. I know, ridiculously overpriced, but my oh my, on a day like this it’s soooo delicious! Keep cool folks.

    • Yum! I love Country lemonade. Although maybe not at €8. 😉 I made my own lemonade a few times last summer, even without the warm weather. Since the heat makes me ill, I’m always thankful that the warm weather never lasts for too long here. I love the sunshine, but hate the heat.

  3. I love the heat so this rise in temps is wonderful. Not sure where the info on last time 30 degrees was reached was in 1994 though because I got married in 1995 in one of the hottest summers on record and guests were almost fainting at the wedding ceremony it was so hot.
    Luckily we installed heat-pumps in our home last year and I can choose to switch it between hot air and cold, since my asthma hasn’t been great today and there’s not a solitary puff of wind in the whole neighbourhood, I ‘ve now closed the balcony doors and have the air on cold just so I don’t wheeze all night.
    When I’m up and about I handle it better though, so the air-co will go off first thing in the morning when I get up and get stuck into study.
    Himself and the kids have gone camping so I hope the tent gets a little breeze. They certainly picked a great weekend for it!

    • I would die if I were camping this weekend, I think. I’m glad you can at least get things cool enough in the evening to get a good night’s sleep! The 1994 date was listed in a news article I read (but forgot to link). I think in that case it was 32.4 for a few days. Maybe 1995 was 32.3. 😉

      • Alison,
        Himself rang today and they had an excellent night in the tent. He had two sides open, one at each end (just the mosquito screens closed) and there was just enough breeze for it to be comfortable.

        I turned off the air-co at 7.00 am this morning and kept the bedroom closed all day, amazingly it’s STILL cool !

        I know, news articles can be so-so with their information… summer ’95 was so hot that when friends decorated our wedding breakfast venue they were sweating buckets, I had to try on my last dress fittings in a friends cellar! and at the wedding evening party practically all the food went untouched as people drank buckets instead… in fact most of the party decamped to the street outside as the restaurant has no air-co and it was cooking inside.

        • If the boyfriend and I ever get married, I suspect it will be a winter wedding, just for that reason. Just getting ready to go out normally when it’s warm makes me insane from the heat, so with the nerves and excitement of a wedding, I’d be a sweaty mess!

          So glad the rest of the family had a good night camping. Hopefully tonight will go just as well!

  4. It’s not the heat, it’s that damn humidity. I was in Istanbul once when it reached 48 degrees Celsius . It was hot, sure, but as there always was as a bit of wind and no humidity, it was certainly bearable. 30 degrees over here is just like a sauna! The humidity is the killer.

    As for AC, why install it when it’s only needed for maybe, 3 weeks out of a whole year? Luckily bigger stores do have it now, and lots of restaurants and cafes as well. So you can cool off at H&M or Albert Heijn at least. I know I hang around in my local AH just that much longer when it’s this hot 🙂

    • Even my mother has said she prefers the dry heat, but I’ve never experienced it, so all i know is hot and humid. Miserable. In New Orleans, a friend referred to the weather as swimmy. It’s very appropriate as you feel like you’re swimming through the air, because of all the moisture, but without the pleasure!

      Even the stores that have AC don’t seem to have it turned up very high, so it’s never the kind of relief that I’m looking for. I do feel for the employees. It’s one thing not to have AC at home, maybe, but when you have to work in miserable temperatures, I’d go insane.

  5. I am not a big fan of the summer heat either but after recent years of dreary, wet summers in the UK I have decided to make my peace with the heat and humidity here in NY. “It is what it is” has become my mantra!

    Enjoy your time in the park, it does look so cool and pretty!

    • I did generally survive NY summers, other than one holiday weekend when I took the Friday off to have a four-day weekend. I was so tempted to go into work, because the heat was insane! I lived on the top floor of a house with no AC and was freezing damp towels and wearing next to nothing while sitting in front of a fan draped in my icy towel in an attempt to stay cool! Fortunately, NY (with it’s AC) was generally bearable, in comparison to the southern states I was used to.

  6. Just before I left for America, ceiling fans did start becoming popular. Maybe that would help? I hear you, though. Anything over 73 is too hot for me, and here I am, in 101 degree weather! At least it never lasts long in Holland.

    • It would take a bit of rewiring to get one into the bedroom, where it’s needed most, since we don’t have any sort of overhead light/wiring. For now, we’ll spend as much time downstairs where it’s a bit cooler. The dog and I spent the night downstairs last night, since we were both panting while upstairs!

  7. I think the 1994 thing you’re referring to is that this weekend was the first so-called “tropical weekend” since 1994. There have been plenty of times since when it’s been over 30, they have just been individual days / several days in a row that were not during a weekend. 🙂

    That being said, it was unbearably hot at 35 degrees! And it did make me wish for AC…

    • Ah, it’s specifically a weekend they were referring to. I was a bit surprised, since I remember it being unbearably hot during the World Cup a couple of years ago, for days on end. I’m just glad it’s cooled down finally.

  8. yeah it was so hot it was not funny. I am sort of used to our hot and humid weather when it comes, but then I have lived here all my life. I happened to be at the lowlands festival that weekend, and it was NOT fun (well the festival was, the heat wasn’t) on the camp sites this was remedied by several gargantuan waterfights. To my great surprise standing in the packed stage tents with the humidity through the roof because of all the hot dancing sweating people was actually cooler than standing outside in the sun O_o I still saw loads of great performances and had a great time… I just hope that next time the weather is let’s say 10 degrees (celsius) cooler lol

    • I went to Lollapalooza one year and I remember being grateful for the watermist tents they had set up. It was so hot and the sun was so unrelenting, that sitting so that the shadow of a handrail created a small shadow across the eyes was a welcome relief! All those summers growing up in Florida, with the usual summer outdoor camps and activities were a nightmare for me. I’m glad you got to enjoy the festival, despite the heat!

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