Heavy traffic expected as winter break starts: 450K Dutch hit the road

The A2 highway from Amsterdam towards Utrecht
The A2 highway from Amsterdam towards UtrechtPhoto: Jeroen van Lieshout / Flickr

About 450,000 Dutch are expected to take to the roadways just to enjoy the winter sports offerings in neighboring countries, and some sun. Together with returning holidaymakers, these departures will cause heavy traffic on the main highways of the Netherlands, Dutch travellers association ANWB said on Friday.

Some of the hundreds of thousands of residents will depart on Friday, and the rest over the weekend. These are primarily people based in the north or central part of the country, with those living in the southern Netherlands returning home.

Schiphol issued a warning for Friday calling it a "busy day", and telling passengers to arrive two hours early for European flights, and three hours early for flights landing outside Europe. The same recommendation was issued for the weekend, though only normal passenger volumes are expected both those dates. A total of 180,000 passengers will depart from the airport over the three day period, Nu.nl reported.

Those wanting winter sports fun might be able to just stay at home. According to the weather forecast, next week will be quite cold in the Netherlands. Temperatures are expected to remain below zero during the day, after falling as low as ten below zero during the night. The cold temperatures are coming from the Siberian region, therefore meteorologists refer to it as the "Russian Bear". This will probably lead to ice skating fun. In Friesland it has been decided to temporarily prohibit sailing on the canals in order to allow the ice to form, while many in Amsterdam are hoping the canals will freeze over for the first time in several years.