What was this winter like?

Snow on the morning of the 26th of February last! Surprisingly, this was only the very first snow of the entire winter of 2019/2020 in the Netherlands. For that reason I simply had to get out in the morning and film a bit.

In this park at the edge of the city some of the trees were still a bit white. You can also see how thin the layer of snow really was. It was still green under most of the trees. The snow wasn’t cleared from this combined path for walking and cycling. It simply had already melted on the hard surfaces.
The surfaces on bridges are always a bit colder than the ground. That is why there is still snow on this wooden bridge for walking and cycling.

If it hadn’t been for the winter weather and the abundance of snow I experienced in Finland during the Winter Cycling Congress in Joensoe, this winter would have felt like a long extended autumn. Even the snow that fell in ’s-Hertogenbosch in the night from the 25th to the 26th of February wasn’t much, just a light dusting, and it was gone by about 9:30 because the temperature was well over freezing point by then. The meteorological winter is over now, in just 10 days the astronomical spring will also start on the 21st of March.

Not many people were around. These two colleagues were having a nice conversation. The woman on the right must have caught up with her co-worker and she must have slowed down to talk to him, since she is on a speed-pedelec that can go up to 45km/h. That is also why she wears the (on those vehicles) obligatory helmet. Left some bicycle parking racks. This lake is used for recreation in the summer. Many people bath here.
Even though there was only a bit of snow, the landscape was really beautiful for a very short time.

The National Dutch weather service KNMI, located just east of Utrecht in De Bilt, summarised the meteorological winter of 2019/2020 as follows:

“With an average temperature of 6.4° C compared to 3.4° C normally, the winter was exceptionally mild. This winter was the second mildest winter since the measurements started in 1901, after the winter of 2006-2007 with 6.6° C.”

The service further reports that all the extremes this winter were recorded in Limburg. The lowest temperature of this winter was reached in Maastricht at -5.4° C on 21 January. The highest temperature was measured on 16 February in Arcen, where it was 18.3° C.

The number of frost days (days on which the temperature drops below the freezing point, if only for a moment) was just 15, which is considerably lower than the long-time average of 33. There were no ice days in De Bilt this year, that is a day on which the temperature does not get over the freezing point at all. The average for De Bilt is 3 ice days per winter. The only ice day this winter was recorded in Ell, again in Limburg, on 21 January.

This man was going to the next town on his shared bicycle from the OV-Fiets system. He gave me a friendly nod. When so few people are around it is not unusual to greet a perfect stranger in this part of the Netherlands.
This nature reserve borders on the historic part of ’s-Hertogenbosch. The cathedral seems to be standing right next to the fields. This is an unusual sight in most modern cities, since most will have grown in all directions. Not here, because this used to be a swamp that couldn’t be built in. Now it is a protected area that you aren’t allowed built in.

The report ends with a remark about this Winter’s precipitation.

“What was also striking was the almost complete absence of winter rainfall in the months of December and January. Only on 26 and 27 February did it come to (wet) snow in more places.”

I quite enjoy this view no matter the season. The ’s-Hertogenbosch cathedral from the Bossche Broek (meaning the Bosch’ Brook). I once showed you what the area looks like from the roof of the cathedral.

Now you understand, perhaps, why I got my camera out on the early morning of the 26th of February to record the one extremely thin layer of snow of this winter. Unfortunately there was almost no one around because the schools were closed for Carnival. This was it, the winter of 2019/2020, if you blinked you would have missed it…

Since the snow was already gone in the city I chose a short route in the fields of the Bossche Broek just outside the city.

A ride in a winter landscape

6 thoughts on “What was this winter like?

  1. Beautiful video, thank you for making and posting this.
    Thank goodness for some “height” on the visual horizon; I found the lack of this quite unnerving when I cycled north from Amsterdam back in 2013, being from Adelaide with “the Adelaide Hills” an omnipresent landmark from the flat plain Adelaide is situated upon.
    And thanks also for the succinct terms “meteorological winter” and “astronomical winter”, which of course make perfect obvious sense, but before now I’ve not heard or read them used together to describe the different “dates” for seasons. A reminder to appreciate what people from outside of a culture can teach those within it.
    Fijne herfst! (Google translation of “happy autumn”).

  2. Picture is 4, is like you said, “the landscape was really beautiful”, beautiful in deed.

    It appears that pictures 5 and 6 were taken in the same direction, just further along the path?

    Again, as I will always say, great work!

    1. Almost. Picture 5 was taken looking north-west on most southern point of the long straight stretch of the route. Picture 6 was taken due north in one of the curves further north. You can see the cathedral on both pictures but in a different location (to the far right in picture 5).

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