January in Amsterdam: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Bicycles parked at Amstel riverbank convered in snow with Dutch bungalos and houses boats in the background covered in snow in Amsterdam,Netherlands
Paulo Amorim / Getty Images

After New Year's Day celebrations subside, January in Amsterdam is imbued with an undeniable post-holiday calm. The city is as tourist-free as ever this month, but that doesn't mean Amsterdammers stop having fun. There are plenty of annual festivals and fun one-offs to participate in. The seasonal perks—ice skating rinks, stamppot (a Dutch comfort food made of potatoes), and more—are in full supply.

Amsterdam Weather in January

Because January is the coldest month in Amsterdam, it's also one of the least busy in terms of tourism. The average high is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) and the average low is 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).

The city experiences an average of eight days of rainfall this month, accumulating a total of 2.7 inches of rain between them; however, you won't likely encounter snow as the weather is typically a little too warm for it. You can also expect plenty of cloudiness for most of the month. Amsterdam in January sees an average of only two hours of sunshine per day.

What to Pack

Layers are the key to staying warm and comfortable on your trip to the Netherlands this January. You'll want to bring plenty of sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and maybe even thermal leggings or undergarments to help fight off the brisk cold, especially if you plan on visiting any of the city's outdoor attractions this month. Gloves, scarves, warm hats, and a heavy winter coat will be necessary, but you should also bring a raincoat and waterproof shoes because it rains during a large portion of the month.

January Events in Amsterdam

Although the colder weather does keep some revelers indoors most of the month, Amsterdam has no shortage of events and celebrations on the January calendar.

  • New Year's Day: As in most countries, January 1 is a national holiday in the Netherlands and a day to recuperate from the high jinks of New Year's Eve. Many tourist attractions and other businesses will be shuttered for the day, but there will still be parties happening in bars and venues across the city.
  • Impro Amsterdam: The International Improvisational Theater Festival, or Impro Amsterdam for short, presents a six-day series of performances at Amsterdam's Rozentheater, where teams of actors from Benelux, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, France, and elsewhere come to extemporize in front of live audiences.
  • Jumping AmsterdamThis annual Dutch equestrian tournament is sure to please hippophiles with its bevy of handsome horses and skillful riders. Top athletes in a number of horse sports return annually to compete before an enthralled audience in an intimate atmosphere; besides the competitions, horse shows, merchandise, food and drinks, musical entertainment, and special children's shows round out the event.
  • Paradiso Korendagen (Choir Days): Featuring 140 different choirs for nearly 24 hours' worth of choral performances, the immense variety of international choirs treat listeners to pop, jazz, folk, soul, and world music for a low price of admission. Tickets are available for sale at the door or online.

January Travel Tips

  • Airfares and hotel rates are at their lowest in January, as companies try to attract customers with competitive rates. The tourist crowds are also at their yearly low, so January visitors have the run of Amsterdam's popular museums and attractions.
  • January is a top month for sales in Amsterdam, with semi-annual sales events offering discounts of up to 70 percent.
  • While some businesses—especially government-related establishments like banks and federal offices—will be closed for New Year's Day, there are no other federal holidays in January, so most attractions and offices will be open the rest of the month.
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