Let It Snow: Amsterdam’s Transient Cold Spell

By Sarah Smit

Collage by Anna Sazonov

For the first time since 2019, the Netherlands has been covered by a thick blanket of snow. Despite the cold temperatures and Amsterdam’s infamous brutal wind, people gathered in parks to frolic in the snow. For many of us at AUC it was the first time experiencing such snowfall. Prior to the February snowfall there had only been one day with snow this winter, which usually manages to satiate people’s craving for the increasingly rare weather condition. However, the Dutch weather decided to give everyone a little more with Storm Darcy, which hit the Netherlands on the evening of the 4th of February.   

Photo by @hgvanlierop.19

For Celandine Seuren from Dubai, second year Humanities student, it was a memorable time. “Having lived in a desert all my life, I was absolutely dumb-founded when the place I now live was covered in snow,” she says. Thankfully, the cold temperatures did not bother her much: “I’m privileged enough to have gone skiing before, so I had adequate gear to keep me warm.” She goes on to say it was her first time experiencing “a true Dutch winter”; although last year’s was certainly very cold, it did not snow. Seuren mentions that even though she had expected the Dutch to be more than ready for the cold winter weather, she was mesmerised by how many flocked to the frozen lakes and canals to go ice-skating. 

Photo by @xxcelandinexx

Indeed, it is a known fact that there is something about skating on real ice that makes the Dutch go “Yes!”. The last time the canals in Amsterdam were thick enough for skating was in 2018. So when the weather forecasts announced that it was going to snow and freeze, people began preparing: ice-skates quickly sold out countrywide, and people flocked to enjoy the sparse time with snow and natuurijs (natural ice). In the places where it snowed substantially, the days were filled with skating, sledding, snowball fights, and cross-country skiing on golf courses for those who were sad about having to skip their skiing holiday. For a small moment, the worries about COVID-19 were forgotten and people were simply enjoying themselves. 

Photo by @frankaverlaan

On the other hand, the weather conditions were so harsh on Sunday that the GGD made the decision to close all COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations. This delayed the vaccination process, as around 20.000 people were scheduled to receive it that day. These locations were not the only ones closing on Sunday, delivery services did, too. All of those who had ordered a supermarket delivery or decided to order in were left without food as delivery and take-out services cancelled all orders.

Photo by @janaepke

While two weekends ago many went ice-skating or ice-sliding on frozen lakes and canals, now people will have more luck pulling out their picnic blankets from storage and heading to the parks since the Netherlands is back to being somewhat sunny with (moderately) warm weather.

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