The Lousy Winter of ’18/’19

Now that the magnolias are in bloom, it’s about time for my traditional photographic review of last winter. And what a lousy winter it was … One snowflake on a scale of one to five! And a position in the mild winter top 10 of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute

I know, weather and climate are not quite the same and you cannot automatically blame global warming for every mild winter day. But still it makes you wonder if snow photography has a future.

However, the winter of 2018/2019 also had a few photogenic moments. But one had to act quickly.


The first snow fell on the early morning of December 16. It was just a wafer-thin layer, but at least it gave me my Christmas card. And because it fell on an early Sunday morning, it took a little longer than on a weekday for the snow to melt under thousands of footsteps.

Westersingel in Rotterdam with the Calypso building, De Doelen concert hall and war monument on a wintery morning at dawn
Westersingel canal

Polar vertex

Unfortunately, this promising start didn’t get a follow-up. While the polar vortex terrorized North America, the thermometer in Rotterdam did not seem able to break through the magical border of zero centigrade. It was not untill mid-January that it get a little colder.

The most wintry day of the winter, with even an emergency timetable by Dutch Railways, was 22 February. No emergency for Rotterdam transit company RET, though; the trams kept on driving without problems.

An RET tram on Mauritsweg in downtown Rotterdam during a blizzard
An RET tram on Mauritsweg

And on the market I spotted a proud flag of tropical Surinam.

The flag of tropical Surinam on a market stall on Binnenrotte square in Rotterdam during a blizzard
The Surinamese flag


In such a white world the few colorful elements really stand out, such as the street art at the former Hofplein railway station.

Colorful street art in a white world at the former Hofplein station in Rotterdam on a cold day in winter
Hofplein station

Rose Garden

This is of course also the time to zoom in on flowers and plants. Here we are in the Rose Garden behind the Boymans Museum.

A red rose, partly covered with fresh snow, in the Rose Garden behind the Boymans museum in Museumpark in Rotterdam
The Museumpark Rose Garden

Aerial view

And my Euromast pass also came in handy on this winter day, although the view in this narrow window of opportunity was not optimal. But the Mansion and the Coach House, just below the tower, looked very pretty.

Two historic buildings in The Park in Rotterdam on a winter day seen from the Euromast
The Park as seen from the Euromast


On February 1, the winter showed up one more time, with what turned out to be a farewell greeting. But also this time one had to be quick, because the layer of powdered sugar was paper-thin and disappeared within a few hours.

Westersingel canal in Rotterdam in the blue hour before sunset with a very thin layer of snow on the grassy banks
Westersingel in the blue hour

Melting ice

And that was the winter of ’18/’19. The rest of February felt like spring, with temperatures approaching twenty degrees. The first two weeks of March felt more like autumn, with a lot of rain and strong winds.

In previous years it sometimes paid off to take the train to the eastern or northern regions of the Netherlands, but this year also that was futile. And even a photo expedition to Iceland, at the end of February, yielded little more than some nice reflections in the melting ice on Lake Tjornin.

Two churches, Hallgrimskirkja en Frikirkja, reflect in the melting ice of lake Tjornin in Reykjavik, Iceland, at the end of winter
Melting ice on lake Tjornin

So I guess I have to plan a genuine polar expedition next year. Or hope that that polar vertex will ignore America and come our way for a change. Although there are probably many readers who are not really keen on that to happen. Who in fact are quite happy with a mild winter ike this one. Well, conflicting interests … But don’t worry, it’s not that I have any influence on those things…

Anyway, let’s first work our way through a few other photogenic seasons.

Other winters of recent years: ’14/’15’16/’17’17/’18’20/’21

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