3 sayings about Dutch spring weather

This year, early April surprised us with a pack of snow, after the sunniest March ever recorded in the Netherlands. This unexpected winter weather sparked regional and national news media to dust off Dutch weather lore sayings. April doet wat hij wil, or April has a mind of its own, is one of the weather lore sayings that are still commonly used by Dutch speakers and could be added to the vocabulary of anyone who lives in the Netherlands or is learning Dutch.  

Dutch traditional knowledge and tegeltjeswijsheid

The transition from winter to spring in the Netherlands can be extremely variable. As in other traditional societies, in the Netherlands weather lore sayings were used to predict the weather and plan agricultural practices, such as sowing, adding manure and harvesting. In this way, a type of knowledge based on experience was verbally passed on from generation to generation. In the 1800s certain sayings were increasingly painted on decorative tiles in Delft Blue style, which is why in Dutch these sayings are sometimes referred to as tegeltjeswijsheid, or tile wisdom, as for example in this NOS news item.

Other Dutch weather lore sayings for March and April 

Besides april doet wat hij wil, another Dutch weather lore saying used in spring is maart roert zijn staart, or March stirs its tail. This saying refers to the fact that March weather can be surprisingly stormy and bleak. Finally, the unpredictability of Dutch spring weather comes across well in the saying aprilletje zoet geeft nog wel eens een witte hoed. This translates to English as sweet April can sometimes give you a white hat and means that even though the weather in April is usually mild, it might still snow. 

Written by Eveline Mineur
Ellipsis Text and Translation

Recent Posts


King’s Day, or Koningsdag in Dutch, is an orange-coloured national holiday celebrated on April 27th in honour of

Learn More