Unlike the climate suggested by 17th-century landscapes depicting half-frozen skaters, Amsterdam has a temperate maritime climate with cool winters and mild summers. The best time to go is May (when the tulips are out) to August, when the weather is most reliable, but an Indian summer during September and early October can be delightful.
Rain is spread evenly over the year, often in the form of endless drizzle, though the statisticians tell us that most of it falls at night (yeah, right). It’s best to bring a foul-weather jacket in case of the occasional cold snap or rainstorm. Very few hotels have air conditioning, although higher temperatures due to global warming are slowly forcing a change. December to February is the coldest period, with occasional slushy snow and temperatures around freezing. It rarely freezes hard enough to allow skating on the canals, but when it does, the city comes alive with skaters. And you couldn’t wish for better photo material than Amsterdam after a dusting of snow.