What to wear in Amsterdam (for all seasons and from a local)
There are so many amazing things to do in Amsterdam any time of the year so the big question is…what to wear in Amsterdam? Consider this post your packing list for Amsterdam. We’ll cover all seasons and what kind of weather you can expect so you’re properly prepared.
If you’re looking to fit in instead of standing out, we’ll let you know what the locals are wearing…and what they aren’t. My style changed a lot when I moved to Amsterdam in 2014. There have been a lot of lessons learned along the way and I’m happy to share them with you!
First, be sure to find the perfect accommodation for your trip. I’m all about planning ahead and knowing what I’m getting into, so I’ve put together a post on how to get from the airport to Amsterdam city center and how to use the public transportation once you’re in Amsterdam.
Are there other aspect of Amsterdam you’d like us to cover? Just let us know! Leave a comment below or reach out on social media. We’ve been in this city (and in love with this city) for over 5 years and, as I said before, I want to share all my tips with you.
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What to wear in Amsterdam in winter
Winter in Amsterdam wouldn’t be my first suggestion of when to visit the city, but there are definitely perks to it. Cheaper accommodation, fewer crowds, more local/authentic vibes are all great reasons to visit during winter and we’ve even created a whole post on winter in Amsterdam and spending Christmas in Amsterdam.
The weather will be cold but it tends to stay above freezing most days. As locals, our biggest complaint is the wind and rain or hail during the winter. It cuts right through you! However, we can also have those days when you feel like magic was sprinkled over the city and you get a warmish, still, sunny day. It can vary quite a lot but plan on temperatures from 0°-10°C (32-50°F). That’s why you’ll want to be prepared with these items.
- Long-sleeved tops
- Tank-top base shirt
- Under-layer under the pants
- Warm (winter) jacket that’s water & wind-proof
- Boots or sneakers
- Scarf, hat, and gloves
Long-sleeved tops or sweaters. Baggy and over-sized tops are pretty popular here. If that’s already your style, you’ll fit right in! If it’s not your style (it’s not mine), just regular long-sleeves are completely fine.
Tank-top base shirt. It gets pretty chilly, so I recommend wearing an extra layer under your long-sleeved top. However, if you’re from a cold part of the world, skip this step! This is a nice one and a great piece to have if you travel to colder climates. If you just want an extra layer, this one is perfect.
Pants/trousers kind of goes without saying. I wear jeans but any kind of long pants/trousers is pretty normal. I wouldn’t say jeans are the number one go-to here, so switch it up if you’ve been wanting to try a new style!
Under-layer under the pants. Yes, when it gets to about 8 degrees Celsius and the wind is blowing, I’ll put some fleece leggings on under my pants. I like to stay toasty warm.
Warm winter jacket that’s water & wind-proof. The weather isn’t very pleasant in the winter, so you’ll want to stay as comfortable as possible with a jacket that will keep the wind-chill and rain out. A nice 3-in-1 type jacket is what Sean uses and loves it. Here’s a similar one on Amazon.
Boots or sneakers are both popular here. In the winter, fashion boots are pretty much all around. A nice sneaker is still normal but the wind might make your feet cold and you’ll want to have them waterproofed before arriving. The key for footwear here is that you will want to wear what makes you comfortable on cobblestones because they are everywhere…and always be prepared for rain.
Scarf, hat, and gloves. You won’t need anything hard-core here. Regular knit gloves and such are fine. Again, it’s mainly the wind you’re trying to keep out. Focus on the hat, get one with a nice liner on the inside that covers your ears fairly well.
View our winter packing list on our Amazon storefront.
Packing list for spring or fall in Amsterdam
There’s going to be a big difference between early spring and late spring. But by spring, the locals are coming out of hibernation and are begging for more sunshine, so you might see people pushing their wardrobe choices because they are optimistic. We, like many places, have ‘skirt day’ when the girls and women decide that the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to wear skirts. It will probably happen in May, so be prepared 😉
I’m including both fall and spring here because the temperatures and weather can be somewhat similar. You’ll probably switch up the style a bit but this should give you a good idea on what you plan for. Temperature-wise, expect about 8°-18°C (46°-64°F). There’s always a possibility of wind and rain, so keep that in mind when packing for Amsterdam. If it is raining, here’s what you can do on a rainy day in Amsterdam.
Just be sure to bring these things…
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Pants/Trousers or skirts with leggings
- Water- & wind-proof jacket
- Stable shoes
Long-sleeved shirts. Yep, you’ll still need them. However, you may not need the under-layer by this point. Totally up to you! If you are from a warmer climate, it might seem a bit chillier than if you are used to this weather.
Pants/Trousers or skirts with leggings. Again, you probably wouldn’t need layers underneath at this point.
You’ll still want a wind and waterproof jacket and maybe some kind of sweater or warmish jacket underneath. Here’s an example of the type of jacket you might want.
Stable shoes. You could easily still wear some boots, but likely people are switching to sneakers by spring. Remember, it may rain, so keep that in mind when thinking of your footwear.
A Scarf. It’s still going to be windy and a scarf is such an easy thing to keep with you. Think mid-weight here. You don’t need those massive fluffy winter scarfs, but you don’t want the light linen ones either.
Read more from our vast Amsterdam content!
What to wear during Summer in Amsterdam
It doesn’t get super hot (typically) in Amsterdam. However, we’ve had unexpected heatwaves for the past two summers, so it’s possible to hit 30°C (and above) and stay there for a while. I suggest planning for 20°-30°C (68°-86°F). I know that’s quite a big range, but it is what it is!
Generally, you should follow similar rules as above. Wear layers, and always be prepared to be wet. Though, if it’s during a heatwave time, be prepared to jump in the water (only in certain spots!). Packing for summer in Amsterdam…
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Short-sleeved shirts
- Sneakers or sandals
- Swim-suit (and towel)
Long-sleeved shirt. Yeah…still bring one in case you need it, or for evenings when it cools down a little. But don’t make it a full-on sweater
Short-sleeved shirts. It’s perfectly acceptable to walk around town in thin-strapped shirts, but it’s not a super normal thing unless it’s over 30 degrees. It’s up to you! I wear regular short-sleeved shirts which tend to keep me at the perfect temperature.
Pants/trousers, skirts or dresses. For summer, I suggest jeans or airy pants. If you enjoy wearing skirts, please do! When we see people in skirts, it makes us happy because it’s warm enough to wear skirts! Around here, due to us cycling everywhere, we avoid shorter skirts and stick to around knee length or longer. Also, you don’t see a ton of shorts. Wear whatever you please, but I’ve noticed many people in places we’ve traveled to, don’t wear shorts. Here is similar.
Sneakers or sandals that can handle the uneven ground.
Swim-suit and towel. When it gets really hot, locals find plenty of spots to jump in the water. Don’t do it just anywhere. Do as the locals do to stay as safe as possible. You may have heard rumors that there are bikes in the canals, it’s true and you don’t want to get stuck on one.
Always bring a light jacket…and probably a rain jacket. However, in the summer, you can get away with just an umbrella.
View our Amazon storefront for summer essentials.
What not to wear in Amsterdam
There’s not a lot that I’d say you shouldn’t wear in Amsterdam. That’s because we get so many bachelor parties and bachelorette parties that have people wearing the craziest things. These recommendations are only due to practical concerns.
Because the weather is so unpredictable, I don’t recommend packing anything leather or suede that could be ruined by the wet weather. Even I’ll get caught in the rain in my suede boots that I’ve had forever because I didn’t check the weather. And it always makes me so sad! We do have waterproofing sprays for these kinds of shoes if you’re determined to wear them. Just plan ahead!
I really do not recommend stiletto heels. I love them. I have a couple I brought from the United States (yes, for that long!) and I never wear them. The cobblestones are so hard to navigate with them on. You could always pack them away in a bag, wear different shoes out, then switch them before you walk into where you are headed. I’ve definitely switched shoes canal-side before a party. And yes, I realize how freaking awesome that sounds–just casually hanging out canal-side.
If you do wear heels, go chunky or wear wedges. That’s how I roll these days.
Now, you’re all set to make the perfect packing list for you and your visit to Amsterdam. Read all of our Amsterdam posts for more inspiration and we hope you love your visit!
Wishing you joy and travels!