You open the curtains and look at the sky: scattered clouds, a pale sun. You’ve planned a daytrip from Amsterdam today. Will  you need to bring rain clothes or sunhat? If you want to be sure, forget about the weather apps, go into the Dutch countryside and look for a swallow. 

The swallow and Dutch weather

The swallow is the star in quite a few sayings about the weather. Sayings that were used by farmers and countrymen centuries ago and still make sense today. You can use weatherapps, but to get the most accurate  summer weather prediction head out to villages, open grassland, and farmland. The swallow with its rusty red chin and white belly loves being in the Dutch rural areas. It makes its nest of mud and straw in barns and other smaller buildings near farms in the Dutch countryside. It is the only bird that always catches its food in midair.  Scarce are the moments you find them sitting on a branch.  You could base a summer weather prediction on how high or low the swallow flies.

natuur fietstocht typisch Nederland met gids nature typical dutch bike Verita's Visit

Swallow’s summer weather prediction in rural Holland

What you can’t see in summer is that when it’s warm, millions of insects are carried in warm air streams high into the sky. Swallows are insectivores and follow the insects. When you see the bird in rural Holland making its gracious movements and sweeping up insects high in the sky you know the air is warm and dry. When the air is cold and wet, the insects stay closer to the ground. That’s where you’ll find the swallows as well. Now check for yourself and create a weather forecast for the Netherlands with one of these two weather sayings:

  • when swallows fly high, the weather will stay dry.
  • swallows low, wet wind will blow

Info that’s easy to swallow

Did you know swallows eat mosquitos? Maybe a good idea to stay close to a swallow this summer!

Did you see a swift, house martin or swallow? Here‘s how you can spot the difference.

In this article I mainly talked about the barn swallow – boerenzwaluw in Dutch-  They arrive in the Netherlands in spring and leave early fall.

Remember: Always take weather folklore with a pinch of salt. One swallow doesn’t make summer or spring. When a swallow long stays , it’s not yet time for winter days.

You might also like:

Tips for countryside cycling in Holland

Family Bike Tour Delft Countryside

The story of a Dutch farmer & his cheese farm



Vera ter Beest

Make your heart b(l)oom and explore Holland by bike with Verita's Visit Holland.
Born on a bicycle and raised in Delft (NL) I love the Dutch countryside. With Verita's Visit Holland I organise bike tours & team events. I take you on and off the beaten track to meet tulip growers, cheese farmers and lords of castles. My specialisation: Keukenhof area, Cheese farm region and Delft countryside. Just send me an e-mail at veritasvisit(@) to get more info.

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