The Netherlands has a temperate climate with bursts of all four seasons every year. They have cool summers and mild winters, though it does snow in the months of December – February.
As flurries begin to form, they fall beautifully on the half-timbered houses, coating people as they ride their bicycles through the streets. Depending on where you are in the Netherlands, the snowfall can feel like a fairytale!
It’s important to know weather vocabulary in any language you’re learning, and snow (‘sneeuw’) is no different in Dutch! There are many Dutch words for snow, and this article is your guide to correct phrases and expressions used in the Netherlands to talk about snow. Grab a wool scarf and mittens, and let’s begin to learn!
Dutch Words & Phrases Related To Snow A-M
If you’re visiting the Netherlands in the winter months, it would be helpful if you knew a few snow-related winter words to describe the conditions outdoors. Let’s begin!
Dutch Words For Snow N-Z
Most of these Dutch words and phrases are variations of ‘sneeuw’ (snow). How many do you already know?
9 Dutch Expressions To Say When It’s Snowing
The following expressions are commonly said during winter months in the Netherlands. Since you’re mostly stuck inside during snowstorms, it’s time to bust out these phrases to dig deeper into the language. Let’s learn these funny, snowy idioms!
Het Is Fris Voor De Tijd Van Het Jaar – It’s Quite Nippy For This Time Of Year
We all know the feeling … you step outside on a late September day and suddenly feel the freezing breeze whip right through you. How can this be? It’s not even winter yet!
The weather garnered much attention year-round in the Netherlands since most people ride bicycles everywhere. The following expression could be said on a weather forecast as the Dutch people grumble and pull out their winter wardrobe for the year.
Het Weerbericht Zat Er Weer Goed Naast – The Weather Forecast Was Wrong Again
Dutch people (like most people around the world) love to prove when the weatherman is incorrect. The above expression is said year-round, though mostly in winter when an unexpected snowfall leaves everyone restless.
De Engeltjes Schudden Hun Kussens Uit – The Angels Are Fluffling Their Pillows
I love this idiom! The ‘angels are fluffing their pillows’ is a vivid way to say it’s snowing.
Next time you’re in the Netherlands, and it begins to snow, look up at the sky and say ‘de engeltjes schudden hun kussens uit.’ The locals will nod their heads in agreement, and you’ll be accomplished for knowing a common idiom about snow!
Aprilletje Zoet, Heeft Nog Wel Eens Een Witte Hoed – April Is Sweet, And Still Has A White Hat Sometimes
Wait, what? This idiom means that it can snow at the beginning of April (aka April can sometimes wear a ‘white hat’). Unfortunately, this happens almost every year in the Netherlands, so this expression is said like clockwork, at the beginning of every April.
Op Oud Ijs Vriest Het Licht – On Old Ice, It Freezes Lightly
Though this idiom talks about freezing temperatures, it has a deeper meaning connected to relationships. This Dutch idiom means that an old partner / lost love can quickly surface again and thaw feelings away quickly. Basically, it means that feelings of love can resurface easily.
Het Kan Vriezen En Het Kan Dooien – It Can Freeze Or It Can Thaw
This expression is used in everyday conversations to mean that it can go either way. It can freeze, or it can thaw. There’s really no telling which way it will go until it happens!
Als De Kalveren Op Het Ijs Dansen – When The Calves Dance On The Ice
This silly idiom has an equally silly English equivalent … When pigs fly! It means that this thing will never happen, so don’t expect it to!
Met De Klompen Van Het Ijs Vlijven – To Keep Your Clogs Off The Ice
This expression means that you should mind your business and not get into anyone else’s problems. Keep your clogs off the ice!
Zachte Winters Vette Kerkhoven – Mild Winters Have Fat Graveyards
Yikes, this last idiom is … dark. It means that mild winters (where it doesn’t snow as much), often lead to more death and disease than really cold winters.
There you have 9 expressions to say when it’s snowing or in harsh conditions. Some are silly, some are surprisingly dark, and some are insightful. Find a good occasion and whip one of these expressions out or any winter words to impress some Dutch native speakers!
Interested in learning more Dutch? Check out Cooking Terms in Dutch & Idioms in Dutch for more fun resources to help you learn Dutch!
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