A Memorable Snow Day in Amsterdam

We got SNOW!!! I know you’ve probably seen pictures of Amsterdam in the snow and probably thought, “Wow! Winter is a GREAT time to visit.” Well…I’ll let you in on a little secret, it rarely snows. And I mean a day a year with a little dusting is normal. That’s it.

Jessica in snow in Amsterdam

Having the canals freezing is something that people hope for each year. In my 7 winters here, the canals have frozen once. It just doesn’t stay below freezing long enough…usually. This week is an exception! It’s cooooooooold outside. And we got snow this past weekend. While we were forecasted to get anywhere from 6”-12”, we got much less than that. However, it was still beautiful! I even made a video about it because I was determined to wake up along the canal in a snow globe.

Jessica looking out the window of a canal house to see the snow

I got my wish! We had booked a night at Mr. Jordaan (which I’m convinced is a hidden gem in the Jordaan neighborhood!) so we were on the Bloemgracht instead of the main canals. Basically it was perfect! And I made sure to book a canal-facing room since that was the whole point of going and opening the window in the morning to the Westertoren (the tower of the church next to the Anne Frank house) and chunky snowflakes coming down was just magical and perfect. I couldn’t stop smiling!!

We got bundled up, had a quick croissant we bought the night before, and headed out for some photos. It was so much fun! Parents were pulling sleds with their kids in them instead of piling them onto a bike. People were out taking pictures, walking their dog, or just taking a walk to take it all in.

Father pulling his daughter on a sled through Amsterdam
Bike covered in snow on Amsterdam bridge

Snow makes people here so happy. It’s wonderful to watch! Eventually the little bridges on the smaller canals (like ours) were used to get that little bit of momentum for sledding down the streets. Snowball fights were a regular occurrence. And the streets were returned to the pedestrians instead of bikes and cars. Magic.

In case you are wondering, we’re all on canal watch. The city shut all the locks so the water would be still in order to give it a chance to freeze. They tend to ask boats to not run on certain canals, as well. So, we’ll see in a couple days if they freeze! I guess about 3 years ago, I went out on the ice. (Here’s a video!) While I don’t have skates (or understand where people switch from shoes to skates and where they put their shoes while they skate) I just went in my boots and it was no less magical.

Jess on the Amsterdam Canals

Yes, people always push the edge and fall in. There are always people around to help and I didn’t hear of any getting seriously injured the last time. But you should ALWAYS be careful and use your head to see where people are going and don’t go past those areas. In general, it seems the area under bridges is a no-go. Ok, well, I guess that was a quick lesson on frozen canals! While it’s amazing here, if you stay in the Dutch countryside, it’s probably even more spectacular! I had someone comment on this video about how they would grow up skating through nature. There was a time when so many kilometers were frozen that it was an event to skate from one point to another. We don’t know if that will ever happen again.

For now, we just appreciate the extra layer of beauty that Amsterdam is given by the snow while we patiently wait to see if we can walk on the canals again 🙂

Jessica walking in the snow in Amsterdam toward the camera
Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.