Dutch Language Blog

This Plan Is Fighting The Heat In The Netherlands Posted by on Jun 25, 2019 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary, News

The past few days, The Netherlands have seen incredibly high temperatures, reaching almost 40°C (100°F)! Today, it was the hottest June 25 ever recorded in the country. Bridges were kept cool with water for the fear of their metal parts expanding and the bridges no longer opening.

Image by Eddy Van 3000 at Flickr.com under license CC BY SA 2.0

The Heat Is On

This week is seeing record temperaturen (temperatures) in the Netherlands and other countries in Europe. While in some countries, a hittegolf (heat wave) has already been proclaimed, this is not yet the case in the lowlands. The Dutch requirements are:

  • Vijf dagen achtereen met maximumtemperaturen in De Bilt boven de 25 graden celsius. (Five consecutive days with maximum temperatures in De Bilt above 25 degrees celsius (77°F).)
  • Op drie van deze vijf dagen moet de maximumtemperatuur in De Bilt boven de 30 graden celsius zijn. (On three of these five days, the maximum temperature in De Bilt has to be above 30 degrees celsius (86°F).)

De Bilt is the meetstation ( Today, June 25, is the third day in a row with temperatures crossing 25°C, and yesterday and today, it went above 30°C. Tomorrow is also going to be above 25°C, but the weersverwachting (weather forecast) predicts 26°C (79°F), so it would just miss the nomer hittegolf.

However, the weer (weather) in most places has prompted the code geel (Code Yellow) to be in force until the end of Thursday, when the sweltering heat is expected to have mostly subdued. Code geel means that you should be alert (watchful). We have seen code geel before when we discussed the Westerstorm here on the blog.

Nationaal Hitteplan

Be careful in the sun! (Image by Laura Thonne at Unsplash.com)

For this week, the RIVM has put the Nationaal Hitteplan (National Heat Plan) into force for the midden, zuiden en oosten (center, south and east) of the country. In addition to the code geel, it places extra attention on the risico’s (risks) for ouderen (elderly people), baby’s (babies), chronisch zieken (chronically ill), mensen met overgewicht (overweight people), mensen in verzorgingstehuizen (people in nursing homes) and mensen in sociaal isolement (people in social isolation). It is especially important for these groups to be wary of uitdroging (dehydration) and oververhitting (overheating). The message is: blijf koel en drink veel water! (Stay cool and drink a lot of water!)

However, the hitteplan is also about the zonkracht (“solar force”, the UV index). The zon is shining particularly sterk (strong) these days, so it is also important to wear bedekkende kleding (covering clothing) and to use zonnebrandcrème (sun lotion). People are also advised to stay in the schaduw (shade) and to keep the house cool.

Zwembad! Airco!

Little fun fact: Today, the terms zwembad (swimming pool) and airco (air conditioning) were searched online more often than the most-searched term gratis (free). Airco is not something a lot of people have in their homes, since such heat is exceptional. People really wanted to cool down!

How was the weather today in your country? What do you think about the way the Dutch handle the heat? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.