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What clothes to pack for Belgium/Netherlands in early April

We're going to Belgium and the Netherlands in early to mid-April and I'm not sure what the weather will be like. Any suggestions for clothes/outerwear to bring?

Posted by
5042 posts

Layers. That way you have options if temps swing either way. Avoid bulky sweaters in favor of multiple thinner options. Long or short sleeve t shirts that can be worn under a shirt or thin cashmere or merino wool sweater. A lightweight fleece jacket or vest and a wind proof jacket. A waterproof jacket with a hood in case it rains. Also pack gloves and a scarf for cool early mornings or evenings.

Climate change us making historic weather averages less dependable, but April is generally cool (12-16°C day time highs), with a roughly 25% POP.

Posted by
2005 posts

Agree using layers.

Doing trips here I always wear trousers (most of the time jeans), shirt, sweater a lightweight wind / rain proof jacket and expecting rain take a folding umbrella with me. But in April it’s very well possible that the weather can be a few days already good enough for wearing shorts and polo shirts, nevertheless remains this hard to predict for early to mid-April.

Gloves are more for December, January and February and exeptional for April, even during chilly mornings and evenings. More a matter of personal preference if you think needing them. Seldom use them, but a light scarf can be useful.

Posted by
1393 posts

In the Netherlands, we have a saying about the weather in April; April doet wat hij wil. This literally means April does wat it wants.
We have this saying because the weather in April can be everything from sunny, dry and warm to cold and wet and even snow or hail. And sometimes all that in just 1 day.

It’s absolutely impossible to say anything meaningful about how the weather will be 3 weeks in advance. And averages are just that, averages.
The advice to bring layers is a good one. Make sure you have a waterproof outer layer.

Posted by
443 posts

We're on the same travel timeframe as marylyn.eckert8. This is our first spring trip to Europe, so I'm finding it difficult to know what to pack as well since I feel like rain could be significant. I understand layers, but since we live in Southern California, it all seems confusing with jacket/coats etc. because jackets are mostly an afterthought here. I have a Land's End rain coat that I just bought but assume it keeps the rain away, but it's not warm or thick. I have another jacket I like better that I wore in the summer in Ireland, but it's not rainproof...I have a non fleece vest, but not sure if that will be warm enough under the rain coat. I keep looking at all of it, and not feeling inspired yet but the time is nearly upon us.

Posted by
3984 posts

We took our first trip in the month of April too to the Netherlands. It was really helpful to see a 10 day forecast a couple of days before final packing. It’s good information to take some mix and match layers. We used to live in Southern California, 34 years, and it took me 3 attempts to buy a reliable rain coat after we moved to Northern California 6 years ago. I like the idea of a non heavy raincoat with fleece vest underneath for your upcoming trip. When we went in April in 2018 we didn’t need anything too heavy but that was our luck with the April 2018 weather.

Posted by
443 posts

mona, thanks for the suggestion and reassurance! I know you understand. I bought the jacket for Ireland online right before we went. I just assumed it was a raincoat, but had no idea if it was actually waterproof. Lucky for us, Ireland that summer was not that rainy. There were some folks on our tour from Washington who truly could not believe I didn't own a bonafide proven raincoat.

Hope I can get it all figured out for Belgium/Netherlands!

Posted by
4171 posts

We spent the entire month of April in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2013. That was a long time ago, obviously. We started in Zandvoort (on the North Sea) and spent the last week in Amsterdam before flying home. Between we stayed in Arnhem, Bruges and Leiden. It was so cold that I bought gloves and a warm hat in Zandvoort.

The weather was variable as people have said. The April average relative humidity in The Netherlands (70%) and in Belgium (78%) are significantly different from the April 16% average relative humidity where we live outside Tucson, so the chill probably affected us more than it might others.

I had a long water repellant coat with a hood and a zip out lining. I didn't wear it every day, but it sure came in handy when we were standing on the road waiting for the flower parade to pass. It was sunny that day, but very cold. My husband, who always underdresses for cold weather, was cold the whole trip. I was okay because I'd brought layers of the type people have described and 2 warm scarves. They often were more appropriate under the long coat with its very warm lining zipped out.

I think I could've done better with a longish (butt covering) rain jacket over the layers, but I didn't have anything like that at the time. You can bet I do now. Vests have never worked for me. My trunk is always plenty warm. It's my arms that get cold. So I pack a couple of thin but warm long-sleeved top options for any location north of the Alps anytime. Wool is not my friend. If you can tolerate wool for base layers, you are a lucky person.

It didn't really start to warm up until we were in Amsterdam. One thing I noticed was that as there was more sun and it got warmer, people were wearing brighter colored clothing. Prior to that, their wardrobes included puffer coats and lots of black and other dark colors. Think Van Der Valk, except for the ME, of course. ;-)

Posted by
443 posts

Thanks, Lo. I feel cold thinking about your experience. My new Lands End raincoat is long/butt covering, so I'm hopeful that helps me stay dry. I just found an old heavier coat where you can unbutton/remove the liner, and it's likely water resistant. The style is timeless so it's not out of date looking, but it's a snug fit now, after all these years, but more shocking is how heavy it feels. It seems like a lot to lug around. Even though I guess I did it in the long ago past.

Posted by
3984 posts

Lo that’s interesting as we spent 3 weeks with coastal Zandvoort as our home exchange base. We had much better weather in April of 2017 but a rain and wind layer did get used on a few days. The day we went to Keukenhof that year it was 80° and they took 3 people away on stretchers that day because of the heat.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all your suggestions. Checking the weather for the next 3 weeks in Belgium and The Netherlands, it looks like it will range from the 50s to the 70s during the day and colder at night. Zip-out lining in the raincoat and some thin layers for warmer days and slightly heavier for colder days. Always a toss-up!

Posted by
27353 posts

I wouldn't much trust a forecast more than a few days out. I think what you're seeing is mostly just based on averages. What you actually get could be very different. Take a look at the actual, historical, day-by-day weather data available on the website timeanddate.com to see the range of what you may experience:

Amsterdam weather -- April 2023

Amsterdam only got above 59F three times last April, and those highs were 61F, 61F and 63F--all of them happening after April 20.

Weather varies a lot from year to year. You can (and should) check statistics for other years by using the pull-down box at the right, just above the graph. Use the Search box to display data for other locations.

Posted by
262 posts

I was in the Netherlands and Belgium last year mid-April. I took a fleece jacket, a packable puffer-style jacket and a waterproof raincoat I could wear over either. I ended up wearing my puffer more than I though I would. I also took a fleece hat and gloves and wore them often. My walking shoes are waterproof and I paired them with wool socks a few of the days. I was completely comfortable.

Posted by
5009 posts

sboh
Based on my recent experience, I completely agree! The weather alternates between almost-spring on a sunny day to cold and windy and rainy on alternate winter-like days.
Safe travels!