Last week, when I first heard a snowstorm was heading Amsterdam's way, it wasn't a lie. I've honestly never seen so much snow in Amsterdam.
The city woke up on Sunday morning to a blanket of white covering almost everything and still the snow fell. Indeed it fell all day and into Monday too. The temperature also plummeted and an icy cold wind whipped its way down the streets too, really reminding us that it was a snowstorm rather than a snowfall.
Ever since then we have been experiencing an alternate version of our city: Amsterdam in the snow. While it has brought some chaos to the city - bike paths and pavements are still snow-covered and icy, public transport has been a little haphazard, and many schools were closed on Monday, the very day they were supposed to re-open after the latest lockdown! - there's no deny that it has also brought much joy to us all.
Children and adults have been out seeking out any kind of gradient for sledging, snowmen have popped up all over the city, and the swish-swish of ski wear being worn everywhere on walks has been bizarre as it's so often a sound I associate with ski resorts.
Once our son's school did open on Tuesday, it was so bizarre to see many children being brought there by sledge, and three days on, I still can't see the green of the grass in my garden. With temperatures dropping and staying below freezing for the coming days, I suspect this will all be the case for some time.
On Monday, with the snowstorm beginning to slow down, I ventured out at lunchtime with my camera. I walked a few miles around East Amsterdam, along that side of the River Amstel to be precise and I took lots and lots of photos.
The last snowstorm of this kind was back in 2010, three years before we moved here, so I know it may be some time before I see Amsterdam in the snow again, so I was very keen to capture my neighbourhood under a blanket of white. I know already that in three or four months, once spring is in full swing, this week of snow will feel like a very distant dream so I want to have evidence of it.
In addition to this photo walk I did, what I have been enjoying the most, and am very grateful for, is the extra light the snow brings. All this white reflects what little sunlight seeps through the clouds that still linger above and it has made opening the curtains each morning an act of much relief and hope. As we have had such a hard, heavy start to the year, I will take whatever extra light we can get.
It has also helped me feel more grateful for what we have; a warm home with very decent double-glazing and insulation, hot water in our taps for baths and showers, and lots of windows to enjoy this new source of light and to gaze out over the white from a place of warmth.
I am also finding myself looking forward to getting things "back to normal" in terms of the city looking like what I am used to. Again, in times such as these, even this kind of looking forward goes a long, long way. While I maintain that Amsterdam in winter is a special time, I have to be honest and say this winter has felt harder than most, for obvious reasons.
But for now, I hope you enjoy these photos of Amsterdam in the snow. It was a joy to take them, edit them and share them. Just as I hope it will be a joy to take some more photos of Amsterdam in springtime soon.
Frances M. Thompson
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