By Anabella Villanueva | May 14, 2021
Cover Illustration: From snow to sun. Anabella Villanueva/The Amsterdammer
Metro Reporter Bella Villanueva recounts a moment of light in the darkness of winter and COVID-19; and shines sunshine on the warm weather awaiting us!
Storm Darcy and the snowy weather left us almost as quickly as it came. Yet, this short moment was the highlight of many people’s lockdown when back in February, storm Darcy caused a rare flurry of snow in the Netherlands turning cities white. Many were given a chance to remember what it means to have fun and to be together, giving us a momentary escape from the current pandemic. The government issued a code red announcing 30 centimeters of snow and we were not disappointed. Personally, I was so excited about experiencing that, coming from a Caribbean Island.
This was the first time I had ever seen so much snow and the first time I had ever played in snow. It took no time for me to return to my child-like self. As I walked down the street and looked around, I saw many people outside, walking and taking pictures, looking for that perfect Instagram moment. Everyone was seemingly desperate to capture the city in its snow-white perfection. Needless to say, the setting resulted in various Instagram pictures, Snapchats and TikTok videos. Families and children were having fun together; walking around, playing with snowballs, building snowmen. Some of the canals and rivers around the whole country were frozen for the first time since 2018, making them the perfect ice-skating rink.
Families and friends have fun on the frozen canal in the Hague, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Anabella Villanueva/The Amsterdammer
Alas, this was by no means a perfect winter wonderland. The snow wreaked havoc on all forms of transportation and even walking became somewhat treacherous. Snowflakes accumulated so much snow that the Transport Ministry had to spray 17 million kilograms of salt in an effort to keep roads safe. Once the snow started to melt, streets became dangerously icy. The government even issued a code orange warning about the slippery conditions forcing many to remain indoors.
Not long after this cold snap, we were surprisingly greeted with a quick delightful change, from the cold and snow to a week of sunshine and warmth. Sunny days brighten our souls, they pick us up and restore our joy. People ignored COVID measures and flocked outside to take advantage of the delightful, warm weather. They flooded the parks and beaches; all measures of social distancing and mixing households were quickly forgotten. Unfortunately, this forced the police to send individuals home and close parks in Tilburg and Groningen. Vondelpark in Amsterdam was one of the most affected, due to swarms of young people celebrating the much-awaited return of the sun.
We don’t know if we will have snow next year, as this year’s weather was something peculiar and out of the ordinary. One thing is for sure, this crazy weather has lifted the spirits of people during these difficult times.
Canal in The Hague on March 2, 2021. Anabella Villanueva/The Amstedammer
The weather during the first week of April was equally unpredictable; it had sudden changes between hot and cold. Raining or snowing for a couple of hours or even minutes before the day suddenly becomes sunny. But, fear not! There are still many bright days ahead of us. As we say goodbye to the cold weather, we welcome sunshine, spring and its elusive sun with open arms. We have already seen gorgeous flowers and trees blooming around us, also let’s not forget it is cherry blossom trees and tulips season!
Trees with gorgeous flowers in The Hague, Thursday April 1, 2021. Anabella Villanueva/The Amsterdammer
Hopefully, this new season will bring us brighter days. The most recent press conference on April 13 should provide us with some hope for the future. The Dutch government has announced a plan to slowly ease some measures starting April 28th, should the numbers allow, with the expectation that life can get back to normal once again.
Stay safe and keep in mind that all the basic measures still apply. We know it’s difficult to resist going to the beach or sitting in the park with your friends, but be strong! After every (snow) storm, there’s always sunshine.
Support The Amsterdammer
We believe in the right to inform the students, Dutch or international, about their surroundings and the university life. We give a voice to the voiceless and have already formed over 100 students since April 2018. However, we need your help to continue to investigate, inform and train the students.