Early Spring

The Netherlands recorded the warmest February on record this year. Here is a boxplot showing the average February temperatures recorded in the Netherlands since 19011.

The average temperature this February was 8.2ºC (46.76ºF) - 0.6ºC (1.08ºF) higher than the previous record of 7.6ºC (45.68ºF) from 1990. It has also been extremely wet here for the past few months. Ideal conditions for an early spring2.

The croci and the narcissi were already blooming by late February, and by middle March the cherry and magnolia trees here had joined the floral choir.

Parakeets are drawn to cherry blossoms like moths to a flame. They sit on the branches and pick at the flowers for hours. Their behaviour looks disturbingly compulsive.

They pluck entire clusters of cherry blossoms at one go, toy with them for barely a second or two and drop them on the ground. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The trees are now sprouting fresh leaves and even though the cherry blossoms won’t be around for more than a couple of weeks (they’ve all but vanished from most parks at the time of this writing), there’ll be plenty other flowering plants and trees that’ll keep the parks and streets in Amsterdam colourful well into June.

  1. Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) - or KNMI for short - publish monthly average temperatures across 10 weather stations distributed across the country here.↩︎

  2. I guess the Netherlands is not unique in recording an early start to spring. I recently came across this paper, that, through a meticulously assembled dataset spanning centuries, chronicles the progressively earlier start of cherry blossom season in Kyoto, Japan.↩︎

March 31, 2024