One of the most frequent considerations for travelers to Amsterdam is when to visit, and you should consider February for an off-season trip if you don't mind the chilly weather but want to save money on your travels.
In February, the major tourist attractions aren't deserted by any means, but there will be fewer crowds. To beat the weather, Amsterdam offers tourists plenty of tasty options to keep warm, including hot stroopwafel pauses on the Museumplein (Museum Square) and fondue at local Swiss enclaves.
Fortunately, if you bundle up and remember to bring the right gear to stay warm, February is a wonderful month to see Amsterdam, either for the first time or as a seasoned tourist.
Amsterdam Weather in February
Although February is Amsterdam's coldest month, you won't find much snow this time of year since temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Plus, the likelihood of precipitation drops throughout the month, and February is much drier than fall or early winter. Over the course of the entire month, the average rainfall is under 2 inches.
- Average high: 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius)
At the beginning of February, Amsterdam gets just over nine hours of sunlight per day, but it rapidly increases to nearly 11 hours of light by the end of the month. However, due to the city having overcast or partly cloudy skies most of February, you're not likely to see much of the sun regardless of what part of the month you visit. Fortunately, the low probability of rain and occasional breakthroughs of sunlight should still give you plenty of time to explore the streets or take a canal boat tour before the evening chill sets in.
What to Pack
Winter in Amsterdam is chilly but not frigid, so you should bring your layered clothing topped with a warm winter jacket, preferably waterproof. Additionally, pack jeans or other long pants, and a wool hat, scarf, and gloves will come in handy for any extended time outdoors. Walking shoes, nice sports shoes, or boots are a must while walking along the cobblestone streets and visiting the gardens, but high heels and open-toed shoes are discouraged this time of year.
If you want to dress up a bit for the opera or fine dining, men can put on a nice sweater, dress slacks, and dress shoes, but should also consider wearing long, thermal underwear to protect from the brisk air. Women can wear dresses or business casual attire but don't forget a heavy coat for commuting around the city.
February Events in Amsterdam
While you won't encounter throngs of tourists, there are some great events that will draw crowds during the month of February.
Until at least February 9, 2021, all public venues and non-essential shops in Amsterdam are closed, and many major events throughout February 2021 were canceled.
- Chinese New Year: Annually held in late January or February, Amsterdam's Chinese community recreates an authentic Chinese New Year celebration every year on the Nieuwmarkt, the heart of Amsterdam Chinatown. The festivities feature a traditional lion's dance and spectacular fireworks, and the Nieuwmarkt itself is covered with stalls and street artists for revelers to enjoy.
- Valentine's Day: While tokens of this non-native holiday have crept into the Netherlands, it's not widely celebrated. However, for couples who wish to celebrate abroad, there are some great ideas for romantic activities in Amsterdam, as a private boat tour of the city's canals. Also, don't miss the excuse to sample some of the best chocolatiers in the city on February 14 (or any time, really).
- De Koninck Blues Festival in Delft: Blues musicians take over more than 30 venues in Delft's picturesque Old Town, just a 45-minute train ride outside of Amsterdam. Performances are free, but blues workshops and lectures carry a modest fee.
February Travel Tips
- Winter weather is a perfect excuse to get tickets for a show at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, which puts on spectacular productions of classic and contemporary works from around the world.
- Keukenhof Gardens, just outside of Amsterdam, will be blooming with crocus and paperwhites. If the weather is warmer, you might even see early daffodils blooming. Established tours and public transit will take you to these famous gardens.
- On the plus side of visiting in February, airfares and hotel rates reach a low this month as companies try to attract customers with competitive rates. The crowds of tourists are at their yearly low, so February visitors have the run of Amsterdam's popular museums, attractions, and more.
- Overall, Amsterdam fashion is "euro-casual," so you'll see guys going to work in a white dress shirt, jeans, and dress shoes while women's styles include the traditional, the vintage-quirky, and stylish European clothing available in local shops.